To: Key PRFA Participants in Pennsylvania
From Carol W. LaGrasse, President, PRFA
Date: January 31, 2003
Please take write, telephone, or fax Senator Mary Jo White in Harrisburg as soon as humanly possible to oppose the appointment of Katie McGinty as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
Ms. McGinty is already the Acting Secretary of DEP, appointed during the transition process of Governor Ed Rendell. The Senate typically acquiesces to confirmation of the Governor's appointments. It will take a groundswell of opposition to have an impact on the Senate confirmation process. Your letters, faxes, and telephone calls are urgently needed.
Please immediately write, fax, or telephone your opposition to the confirmation of Kathleen A. McGinty as Secretary of DEP to:
Senator Mary Jo White
Environmental Resources and Energy Committee
Senate of Pennsylvania
Senate P. O. Box 20321
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3021
As Secretary of DEP, Kathleen A. McGinty would have immense powers for extreme regulation that would diminish private property rights. A skilled bureaucrat who has held a top level United States government environmental post and has been active in internationalist efforts, Ms. McGinty demonstrated that she is committed to the radical expansion of central government control over land use. Supporters of private property rights had to face off against her during the Clinton Administration.
When she was Chair of the President's Council on Environmental Quality under Clinton and Gore, she took the American Heritage Rivers program that Clinton created by Executive Order and built a Washington bureaucracy and on-the-ground infrastructure of environmental workers hidden away in federal and state agencies, including temporary workers with lavish travel expense funding, dedicated to federal meddling in zoning, watershed control, and riverway regulation.
At a Congressional hearing on September 24, 1997, I was a witness testifying before the House Resources Committee in opposition to the American Heritage Rivers program. During the hearing, I watched as Ms. McGinty was questioned repeatedly by Rep. Bob Schaffer about the power of the new "River Navigators" to be appointed by her to head the federal management of each designated river. She went around in circles evading the question of whether the Navigator could be involved in the prosecution of violators, seeming to indicate that the Navigator gained no new powers by his appointment.
But, when the Presiding Chair, Rep. Helen Chenoweth, asked for an official notice in the Federal Register or an Executive Order confirming that conclusion, Ms. McGinty evaded once again. She replied only by repeating herself, "I have no expertise on whether or not Federal employees have the authority to testify against local landowners in either land use or water use courts. To the extent that they do there's nothing in this program that changes that equation. To the extent that they don't, there's also nothing in this program that changes that equation."
That ended a hopeless effort during an all-day hearing to obtain useful information or commitment from the top official in charge the American Heritage Rivers program. McGinty gave a remarkable display of obstruction to every attempt to examine in a concrete way the new bureaucracy that I later uncovered was formally distributed in thirteen federal agencies, from the Department of Defense to the Fish and Wildlife Service to the Environmental Protection Agency. As predicted, the well-oiled American Heritage Rivers program quickly set the stage for an array of infringements on private property rights.
If she becomes Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, Ms. McGinty will have direct regulatory power over air and water pollution control, mineral resources, and water resources. Through the power of directing a legal and enforcement staff, the Secretary has direct regulatory impact on private property owners, resource-based industries, and businesses of every nature. The position of Secretary of DEP has the potential to have greater impact on property owners and businesses than any other cabinet office.
In the past, Ms. McGinty's positions have been directed to regulatory expansion both in this nation and internationally. Henry Lamb, Executive Director of the land rights and sovereignty organization Eco recalls his early acquaintance and parting company with Ms. McGinty in Geneva, Switzerland, where she was part of a delegation involved in internationalist efforts. In the past, however, Ms. McGinty has not held a post with significant regulatory power. In the light of the just interests of Pennsylvania property owners and businesses, this extreme, big government-oriented individual would be a bad choice as Secretary of DEP.
The Senate Committee on Environmental Resources and Energy, headed by Sen. Mary Jo White, could decide as early as the first week of February when to hold a hearing on the confirmation of Ms. McGinty. Any day or as much as a month from now Ms. McGinty could be placed on the hearing schedule, depending on whether the Democrats or the Republicans, who control the Senate, decide that this cabinet-level appointment has priority. The hearing will be open to the public. Letters should arrive well before the hearing!
Please contact the office of Senator Mary Jo White immediately. Please follow up soon afterwards with a call or letter to your own Senator, also! Your organization should also make these contacts.