House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) sent a letter to Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), requesting information regarding EPA’s $3 million cooperative agreement with the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission that funded an advocacy campaign attacking farmers and ranchers in Washington State. The advocacy campaign includes billboards, bus placards, and a website that encourages the public to contact their state lawmakers using a pre-written email. According to a recent news report, EPA has acknowledged that the use of EPA financial assistance to fund this campaign was a violation of federal law.
“While this advocacy campaign is troubling, we are even more concerned that it appears to be part of a broader pattern of mismanagement of federal funds at EPA,” Chairman Conaway wrote in the letter. “The cooperative agreement with the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission is one of many awarded as part of EPA Region 10’s Puget Sound Action Agenda. When viewed in context with the EPA OIG report and the recent GAO legal decision, the ‘What’s Upstream’ campaign seems to be merely the most recent indicator of a lack of appropriate oversight at EPA.”