On August 16, 2012, members of Americans For Prosperity, Georgia Tea Party, and Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy staged a 45-minute demonstration in front of the Sam Nunn Federal Office Building in Atlanta, GA to protest a large meeting hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 4 Office on “Environmental Justice”.
Their speakers pointed out that the EPA is pursuing programs to phase out use of coal and other fossil fuels for electricity production that will needlessly cause substantial increases in electricity rates. Irreparable damage will be done to the country’s poor, small and large businesses, and force many businesses to leave the country and conduct operations in countries that pay little attention to pollution. In a sense the words “Environmental Justice” is an oxymoron.
EPA’s conference is quite extensive and details are available on their website. The conference lasted four days with two days of informational sessions and informal social time, followed by tours of the Atlanta Beltline and other locations. Conference registration was free and advanced registration was mandatory.
The estimate of attendance is 400 based upon the number of chairs in the main meeting room. The lobby area had at one end a very large table stacked with drinks and sandwiches which most likely were given to conference attendees for Thursday’s lunch.
The Director of Region Four is Gwendolyn Keys Fleming, which might explain the estimate of eighty percent conference attendees being ladies. Region 4 comprises, FL, GA, AL, MS, TN, KY, SC, and NC which is a large area. This implies most of those attending the conference stayed in one of the numerous hotels close to the office building. It is reasonable to assume tax payers paid expenses, if not salaries, for all attending the conference and naturally tax dollars paid for EPA employees who spent a considerable amount of time preparing and conducting the conference. Certainly the conference cost $400,000–$1000 per attendee. No one would disagree that a considerable amount of time in the conference was devoted to means to insure the reelection of President Obama for President this fall.
In a time when the Federal Government is bleeding a deficit over $3 billion per day, this type of activity is a frivolous waste of tax dollars, particularly for the state of Georgia, where school teachers are being laid off and salaries reduced by furloughs.