National Resources Defense Council Sues EPA While Receiving Agency Grants


DATE: June 29, 2001

BACKGROUND: Greenwire reported June 28 that the National Resources Defense Council is suing the Environmental Protection Agency for reviewing arsenic standards for drinking water, rather than allowing standards set in the last days of the Clinton administration to stand. They will be joined in the suit by U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Harry Reid (D-NV), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and John Corzine (D-NJ).

TEN SECOND RESPONSE: For years the EPA has been funding the NRDC with grants of taxpayer money and for years NRDC has been suing EPA to do its bidding.

THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: During the last administration it became popular to award EPA grants to a number of organizations, such as the National Resources Defense Council, which then sue the agency to do their bidding. The practice continues to this day. Since, in a democracy, the government represents the people, it is time we relieved the taxpayers of the burden of paying for the privilege of being sued.

DISCUSSION: Organizations like NRDC excuse taking grants of taxpayer money and then suing taxpayers by saying they use their own money for the suits while using taxpayer money for other projects. However, we all know that money, like water, is fungible. If you dump a glass of water in a pail of water, none of it is distinguishable from the rest. The same is true of money.

By taking taxpayer money to fund their other expenses, they free up "other" money to sue. Recent NRDC grants from EPA are: $827,845 on 4/25/97, $150,000 on 8/7/98, $1,204,362 on 8/24/98, $50,000 on 4/16/99 and $50,766 on 4/17/01 (the month before filing this most recent suit) for a total of $2,282,973.

For more detail on EPA's 8,312 most recent non-construction grants, go to: Then click on "non-construction" grants about the middle of the page and hit search at the bottom. This will give you lists of grants, alphabetical by recipient, 500 at a time. When you are in the initial search page, do not enter a recipient name because this tends to produce incomplete results.

By Tom Randall, Director of Environmental and Regulatory Affairs, The National Center Public Policy Research

Contact the author at: 773-857-5086 or
The National Center for Public Policy Research, Chicago office
3712 North Broadway ­ PMB 279
Chicago, IL 60613