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GAO ruling

EPA Broke Law with Water Rule Social Media Blitz

GAO rulingThe EPA broke the law by using social media to drum up support for the Clean Water Rule, according to the US Government Accountability Office.

In its ruling, the GAO said the EPA engaged in “covert propaganda” and lobbying. Federal law prohibits agencies from doing both.

The EPA used Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Thunderclap to counter opposition to the water rule. “… EPA’s use of Thunderclap constituted covert propaganda…We also conclude the EPA hyperlinks to the NRDC and Surfrider Foundation webpages provided in the EPA blog post constitute grassroots lobbying,” the GAO wrote.

The Clean Water Rule, also knows as the Waters of the US Rule, expands the reach of the Clean Water Act to protect US streams and wetlands from pollution. It took effect in August; however, the day it was slated to become law across the US a federal judge in North Dakota blocked the water rule from taking effect in 13 states that had sued to stop the regulations.

In October a federal court ruled the guidelines were likely illegal and put the Clean Water Rule on hold nationwide.


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4 thoughts on “EPA Broke Law with Water Rule Social Media Blitz

  1. I read a considerable portion of the “ruling”. The whole GAO “ruling” is a reach, especially down in the nuancing footnotes. Certainly, in the brave new world of social media, hashtags, multiple site bundling and migration, etc. there is room for interpretation for what constitutes “advocacy” versus “spreading the message”. Throughout the explicit advocacy by EPA’s postings is a request for “support” in the most general sense, not a request to write to ones government or send money or write letters to the editor. And when social media and its derivatives so often and viciously defame the efforts or policy of any governmental activity or proposition, is it not appropriate for the cognizant entity to address the issue of veracity, etc. in the current market places of ideas? I have gotten far more egregious web links from my Federal elected officials on various issues than would seem to be content of the EPA’s social media.”outreach”.

  2. I Happen to Agree with Mr. Bullard. The GAO Action seems to be just a “Holding Action” because of “States” opposition.
    How Ms. Hardcastle can say ANYBODY “Violated Federal Law” is beyond me. Young Lady, just How-Did the EPA Violate the rules? Who ARE YOU Anyway and Who do You Represent? In Other-Words young Lady, you are looking at 13 States UNHAPPY WITH a Federal Agency. It’ll “Shake-Itself-Out” sometime?
    Shut-Up and “Change YOUR Babies Diapers” and Have a Great Holidays! Try, “Not-to-Burn-the-Toast” in your own Kitchen.
    Ms. Jessie (I “AM BEING TOO PERSONAL) It’s the Holidays, the Federal Government could Care Less right now?
    Ms. Hardcastle, Write a Letter to YOUR Two Senators and YOUR Congress Person before YOU “Say that you know” What’s RIGHT? Merry Christmas and “PLEASE Don’t Burn YOUR OWN Toast?
    Maybe after the HOLIDAYS the Courts will decide WHO is doing the Right Thing. Bob Deems

  3. I appreciate learning about environmental concerns and it is difficult to find out what is happening within agencies if not publicly posted on social media unless after the fact and that irritates me to no end. Many of us need to know what the government is doing to protect our waters, wildlife, lands and we gather info from the webs more than any other place. I would think this is a positive and not something to be harming an agency for as it is providing a service for those it’s to serve. The rule that’s been used should be updated to reflect the electronic media world we live in;if not thrown out altogether. Most of us are not lobbyists nor do we have time to find the info that is so pertinent to the environment. It is my belief that what was done led to a successful public comment.

  4. This was pimping for the law. plain and simple. The government is not supposed to use our money to do sales jobs for laws they write and the are supposed to enforce. Especially when their sales job leaves out the other side of the argument. I am grateful; 13 states got this put on hold. Does anyone actually understand what this would have done? If you have a large puddle in your back yard, does this apply?
    As far as getting items from elected officials; we expect them to not tell the truth. We should have some faith that unelected bureaucrats would have our best interests at heart. When they pull a stunt like this, it shows that they are on one side of the political spectrum.

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