"EPA: Outside Groups Shelled Out $4.5M for Agency Officials' Travel"

"In June 2012, Chesapeake Energy Corp. led more than a dozen U.S. EPA officials on a tour of its hydraulic fracturing operations near Sayre, Pa.

Fracking, and how the federal government regulates it, is of great concern to Chesapeake. The energy company spent $1.8 million on lobbying that year -- including lobbying EPA on its hydraulic fracturing study looking into potential impacts on drinking water, according to disclosure records on file with the Senate.

The Chesapeake excursion is among thousands of trips that EPA officials -- including top brass -- have taken on someone else's dime since 2010, according to trip reports obtained by Greenwire. Overall, EPA has accepted more than $4.5 million to pay for hotels, meals, travel and other benefits from outside groups over the past four years.

Corporations, industry associations, nonprofits, foreign governments and others with a stake in EPA's rules -- including groups with registered lobbyists -- regularly pay for EPA official travel, according to reports the agency has filed with the Office of Government Ethics. EPA has reported accepting 3,369 trips that have had some if not all private funding for employees to take tours, attend conferences and meetings, conduct training sessions, and update outsiders on the agency's research and policies since 2010."

Kevin Bogardus and Robin Bravender report for Greenwire May 22, 2014.

Source: Greenwire, 05/23/2014