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March 4, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Is the EPA Coordinating With Hollywood?

March 4, 2013
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WASHINGTON D.C. – The Institute for Energy Research released a statement today after conducting a document review of emails made public in response to a recent FOIA request by E&E News.

Buried in a tranche of official emails related to the Environmental Protection Agency’s enforcement action against Texas-based Range Resources is an exchange between former EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz and other senior administration officials that raises new questions about EPA’s collusion with anti-hydraulic fracturing activists.

On Jan. 4, 2011, former EPA communications officer Betsaida Alcantara and Associate EPA Administrator Seth Oster corresponded with Josh Fox, producer of a widely discredited 2010 documentary ‘Gasland,’ about the director’s request to interview Administrator Armendariz for an upcoming film.  In the exchange, Armendariz notes, “it was good working with [Fox] for Gasland,” and goes on to suggest a place in Fort Worth where the director can get “good background shots.”

“These emails are yet another example of the degree to which the EPA works closely with well-funded activists and Hollywood producers in coordinated propaganda campaigns against energy producers,” IER President Thomas Pyle said. “With Gina McCarthy’s nomination to succeed Lisa Jackson now in play, the American people deserve answers to serious questions about the agency’s cozy relationship with environmentalist provocateurs like Josh Fox.”

BACKGROUND:

AL ARMENDARIZ – Senior Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” initiative. Armendariz resigned as EPA Region 6 Administrator last year as video footage surfaced in which he likened the agency’s approach to the fossil fuel industry to the crucifixion of Turkish civilians during the Roman Empire.

JOSH FOX – American film director and environmental activist known for his opposition to hydraulic fracturing. In February 2012, Fox was arrested during a committee hearing about the EPA’s analysis of ground water in Pavilion, Wyo. EPA Regional Administrator James Martin was a key witness at that hearing. Martin has since resigned after an investigation led by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) uncovered evidence that he had used personal email accounts to conduct official business.

BETSAIDA ALCANTARA – Communications Director for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) since April 2012. Before that, Alcantara served as the press secretary for the Environmental Protection Agency.  She also served in various roles for U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and as a spokesperson for the Obama presidential campaign.

SETH OSTER – Former Associate Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and senior advisor to the EPA administrator. In this role, he oversees the agency’s communications, media relations, public engagement, education, and web communications. According to his official bio, Oster has worked for organized labor and the Motion Picture Association of America. Oster left EPA in January 2012 to become Chief Communications Officer for KPMG.

To read the entire email exchange, click here.

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