GOP says fake CIA agent wrote major EPA regs

 

A former Environmental Protection Agency official who pleaded guilty last year to bilking the agency led efforts to write major air quality regulations, according to a report released Thursday by Senate Republicans.

The GOP report argues that John Beale, who admitted to stealing nearly $900,000 in pay and benefits by pretending to work for the CIA while serving the EPA, had almost no qualifications for his environmental position.

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Starting in 1995, Beale headed the agency’s efforts in National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone and particulate matter emissions, which have led to costly regulations that have shut down coal plants, Republicans in the Environment and Public Works Committee said in the Wednesday report.

"Today’s report connects the dots between John Beale and the numerous air regulations that he’s responsible for, regulations with a lasting impact that are costing many Americans their jobs and hard-earned wages," said Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), the committee’s ranking member.

Despite Beale being exposed as a fraud and unqualified for his position, the EPA is letting the rules he helped craft stand without much scrutiny, the committee said.

EPA spokeswoman Alisha Johnson defended the air-quality standards Beale worked on.

“While Mr. Beale did work on the rules mentioned in the report, he was just one of a large number of people from a number of disciplines across the agency who provided input on those rules,” Johnson said in a statement to The Hill. Both rules have survived federal lawsuits largely intact, she said.

Beale was sentenced to 32 months in prison for using a fake CIA job to justify skipping work. He agreed to pay back nearly $900,000 in pay and benefits he stole since 2000, plus $500,000 more.