WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, and U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today released a statement after receiving a letter from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inspector general regarding the Agency’s taxpayer funded, anti-farmer campaign.
“I am pleased the EPA inspector general agrees that an investigation into the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission’s questionable use of millions in taxpayer funded grants for political purposes is warranted,” Sen. Roberts said. “In the days since Sen. Inhofe and I called for an investigation, farmers and ranchers have contacted my office to thank us for standing up for them. We already know this campaign was malicious. Now we need to know what role the EPA had in it and whether they are properly monitoring the lawful use of federal funds.”
“It is important that the EPA inspector general get to the bottom of how taxpayer money was used to criticize farmers and promote the agenda of environmental activists,” Sen. Inhofe said. “In a hearing before the Environment and Public Works Committee this morning, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy admitted that EPA has halted payments to the grant organization due to the concerns the inspector general will be investigating. That’s an important step, but EPA needs to prevent similar mismanagement for occurring in the future.”
Roberts and Inhofe on April 5 sent a letter to Arthur A. Elkins, Jr., the inspector general of the EPA, requesting an audit and investigation of an EPA grant to the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission used to support an anti-farmer advocacy campaign in Washington state. The campaign included billboards and a website that support increased regulation of agriculture in Washington state. The inspector general has confirmed that it will answer the questions raised in the Roberts and Inhofe letter as part of an audit into the $20.5 million in grants awarded to the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.