Report: EPA cut corners on climate finding, ignored Data Quality Act, flouted peer review process

Environmental journalism supports the protecti...

Image via Wikipedia

From: The Daily Caller

In a report released Wednesday (at Sen. Inhofe’s request, dating back to April) the inspector general found that the EPA failed to follow the Data Quality Act and its own peer review process when it issued the determination that greenhouse gases cause harm to “public health and welfare.”

From Yahoo today:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration cut corners before concluding that climate-change pollution can endanger human health, a key finding underpinning costly new regulations, an internal government watchdog said Wednesday.

The report said EPA should have followed a more extensive review process for a technical paper supporting its determination that greenhouse gases pose dangers to human health and welfare, a finding that ultimately compelled it to issue controversial and expensive regulations to control greenhouse gases for the first time.

“While it may be debatable what impact, if any, this had on EPA’s finding, it is clear that EPA did not follow all the required steps,” said Inspector Arthur A. Elkins, Jr. in a statement Wednesday.

The EPA and White House said the greenhouse gas document did not require more independent scrutiny because the scientific evidence it was based on already had been thoroughly reviewed. The agency did have the document vetted by 12 experts, although one of those worked for EPA.

“The report importantly does not question or even address the science used or the conclusions reached,” the EPA said in a statement. The environmental agency said its work “followed all appropriate guidance,” a conclusion supported by the White House budget official who wrote the peer review guidelines in 2005.

The greenhouse gas decision — which marked a reversal from the Bush administration — was announced in December 2009, a week before President Barack Obama headed to international negotiations in Denmark on a new treaty to curb global warming. At the time, progress was stalled in Congress on a new law to reduce emissions in the United States.

Online:

EPA inspector general’s report: http://www.epa.gov/oig/
Full report at Senate EPW: http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=e0584e33-d3da-4fba-b95a-e93548105e09

About these ads

36 thoughts on “Report: EPA cut corners on climate finding, ignored Data Quality Act, flouted peer review process

  1. In heading: “Report: EPA cut corners on climate finding, ignored Data Quality Act, flaunted peer review process”, please change “flaunted” to “flouted”.

    IanM

  2. You just don’t care about our children.

    2 red herrings are enough to feed the multitude of 5,000 global warming alarmists.

  3. According to “The Daily Caller,” Senator Inhofe is calling for investigations. The article is worth reading.


  4. ‘Carl Bussjaeger says:
    They’re using the new pal/peer review process, so “flaunted” is probably the right word.’
    They’re using the new pay-pal/peer review process, so “flaunted” is probably the right word
    There fixed.

    [REPLY: The title has been changed to “flouted”, REP]

  5. Taking a bit broader view as we head into the 2012 election year, it seems that American voters are waking up in light of a “a new NASA study was interpreted by skeptics to reveal that global warming is not man-made.” 69% Say It’s Likely Scientists Have Falsified Global Warming Research says Rassmusen Reports on Aug 3, 2011

    “…While a majority of Americans nationwide continue to acknowledge significant disagreement about global warming in the scientific community, most go even further to say some scientists falsify data to support their own beliefs….”

    Looks like we just got in a one – two punch (Large grin)

  6. Another good sign: I heard about this EPA thing on a general interest blog before I heard it here.
    ===============

  7. It’s not surprising EPA is fudging the results, for it’s no surprise either that most of the political appointees running the gov’t agencies are crooked as a dog’s hind leg. As a friend long in the civil service elite in one major agency commented recently, they’re unethical and don’t care about anything but their own and Obama’s skins. Washigton is truly infected.

  8. Wow, this is actually pretty important. Inhofe has established that the EPA didn’t follow procedures, and has established that the committee for which he is the ranking minority member has jurisdiction. The Chairman of the committee in Barbara Boxer. She will likely try to kill any attempt at having hearing, but given the OIG report, it could be hard for her to do so.

    In the OIG report, EPA indicates that they relied heavily on the IPCC. Inhofe submitted questions about the IPCC procedures and EPA answers those questions in the report. What’s interesting is the Inhofe asked a couple of questions regarding Climategate, and EPA’s answers are clearly inadequacy. If there are committee hearings (and there almost certainly will be), Inhofe has created a predicate to bring Climategate into scope. It seems nearly certain to me that Inhofe will issue a congressional subpoena to gets Mann’s emails, and no court in the land could stand in the way.

  9. Standard EPA procedure for a long time in the so-called ‘species at risk’ listing game, so to be expected.

  10. My take on this is here:

    “It appears that the OIG [Office of Inspector General] will allow the Endangerment Finding to stand, and is recommending only that EPA revise its procedures for future. This could be a wrong interpretation, however nowhere in the OIG report is the EPA required to revise or re-issue the missing transparency documents, nor hold a second and independent review by qualified scientists.

    The fact that only procedures were evaluated [and not the science] means that the clearly false statements and conclusions of many of the peer-reviewed papers and documents were considered acceptable by EPA.”

    This opens the door to additional litigation against EPA for not following regulations.

    http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/epa-co2-endangerment-finding-review-by.html

  11. Remember the delta smelt, the little fish “saved” by destroying large chunks of California agriculture through the denial of irrigation water?
    (bold added)

    Angry federal judge rips ‘false testimony’ of federal scientists
    By: Ron Arnold | 09/22/11 8:05 PM
    (…)
    So many lawsuits sparked by the conflict have landed on [U.S. District Judge Oliver] Wanger’s desk, with so many plaintiffs and so many defendants, that he merged them into one and titled his rulings “The Consolidated [salmonid, delta smelt, or whatever] Cases.”

    In a searing opinion, Wanger ripped two Interior Department scientists for giving “false” and “incredible” testimony to support a “bad faith” delta smelt preservation plan.

    The two scientists are Frederick V. Feyrer of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and Jennifer M. Norris of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Wanger also threw out huge chunks of the federal government’s official “biological opinion” on five different species, calling the opinion, which is a guidance document for environmental regulators, “arbitrary, capricious, and unlawful.”
    (…)
    In an earlier decision, for example, he excoriated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency for its to-hell-with-people policy:

    “Federal defendants completely abdicated their responsibility to consider reasonable alternatives that would not only protect the species, but would also minimize the adverse impact on humans and the human environment.”
    (…)
    In a court transcript of last week’s decision obtained by The Washington Examiner, Wanger wrote of Norris: “I find her testimony to be that of a zealot. … The suggestion by Dr. Norris that the failure to implement [her plan], that that’s going to end the delta smelt’s existence on the face of our planet is false, it is outrageous, it is contradicted by her own testimony.”

    Feyrer got worse — a ruling of “agency bad faith.”
    (…)
    Isn’t that a firing offense, even for a career civil servant? I asked Julie McDonald, former deputy assistant secretary of interior for fish and wildlife and parks.

    “No, they don’t get fired, they get promoted,” McDonald said, citing the power of the federal “science cartel” to protect its rule over America’s environmental regulations from people like Wanger.

    Are you a federal scientist for whom the legal system has found your work faulty, showing dereliction of duty with a demonstrated willingness to lie and deceive while violating the law in order to push the Green agenda? Congratulations, you have a promotion coming!

  12. “The agency did have the document vetted by 12 experts, although one of those worked for EPA.”

    And would any of the “experts” be impartial and not biased or in “climate science” or funded (heavily and richly) by the IPCC or EPA? How could they not. All 12 vetted the paper?
    “Pass the rubber stamp, please.”

  13. Table 2: EPA’s examination of IPCC’s AR4 peer review [emphasis mine]
    OMB criterion for peer review of highly influential scientific assessments
    Did EPA address the OMB criterion in Federal Register notice or response to comments?
    Expertise and balance of peer reviewers Yes
    Conflicts of interest of peer reviewers No
    Independence of peer reviewers Yes
    Rotation of peer reviewers No
    Information access for peer reviewers No

    Opportunities for public participation Yes
    Transparency of review process Partially (a)
    Management of the peer review Not Applicable (b)
    Source: OIG analysis of EPA’s response to comments to the proposed rule.
    (a) Transparency was generally addressed but not for all elements. For example, EPA did not discuss whether IPCC procedures required a description of the credentials and relevant experiences of each peer reviewer.
    (b) This criterion only applies to peer reviews managed by a federal agency.

    No conflicts of interest here, move along.

  14. EPA INSPECTOR GENERAL: KEY ENDANGERMENT FINDING DOCUMENT NEEDED MORE REVIEW

    In a major development, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Office of the Inspector General (IG) today said a key document underpinning the agency’s so-called “endangerment finding”—the determination that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare and legally supports agency rules that regulate carbon dioxide emissions—required a “more rigorous peer review than occurred.” Read More »

    http://www.powermag.com/POWERnews/4072.html?hq_e=el&hq_m=2292875&hq_l=4&hq_v=d0622051c2

  15. As i recall this is how Climategate began…

    opening up a big bag of popcorn.. this is about to get very interesting…

  16. After watching the EPA Oversight Committee on C-Span this morning, it’s clear we need to be combing through the reports and footnotes used to make environmental policy line by line. I was shocked listening to Joe Barton, R.-Texas, questioning Lisa Jackson, head of EPA, about the studies used to support some kind of policy (just happened to catch a few minutes and missed the intro) about “soot”? and air pollution. He stated that he has still not received copies of the studies included in the footnotes and he was starting to doubt their existence. He went on to describe the sources footnoted were studies that were 10-15 years old, some not peer-reviewed, not replicated, not performed by scientists and on and on. And then another representative questioned her about another set of studies he too had requested and not received.

    Who is responsible for ascertaining the scientific integrity of studies and reports submitted to our legislators? And, isn’t it about time that we have some kind of absolute standard of accepted research studies and reports? Much of the “research” used to support Obamacare was based on poorly constructed research that would have failed a freshman basic research class yet, these were accepted in the Congressional Record and used to provide rationale for legislation that effects every man, woman, child in this country. This is what happens when science gets hijacked by agendas.

  17. I read through about half of the report and so far I fail to see where this is anywhere near as damning as the headlines are implying.

    I suspect it might give ammunition to the suits over the endangerment finding, but no smoking gun which on its own can sink the EPA’s rule making.

    I wonder though whether the pause in that rule making process is related more to this report rather than the stated economic reasons (or even the unstated political ones).

  18. I am sick of the EPA and here is 230,000 more reasons why!

    The EPA is asking taxpayers to fund up to 230,000 new government workers to process all the extra paperwork, at an estimated cost of $21 billion. That cost does not include the economic impact of the regulations themselves.
    “Hiring the 230,000 full-time employees necessary to produce the 1.4 billion work hours required to address the actual increase in permitting functions would result in an increase in Title V administration costs of $21 billion per year,” the EPA wrote in the court brief.

    http://dailycaller.com/2011/09/26/epa-regulations-would-require-230000-new-employees-21-billion/#ixzz1Z60gcpuY

  19. A federal agency ‘cooking the books’ – has this ever been done before – in recent times even?

    Did the FCC cook the books on broadband over power lines?

    Excerpt:

    The other shoe has finally dropped on that court decision which forced the Federal Communications Commission to delay its green light to Broadband over Power Line technology (BPL). The American Radio Relay League (ARRL), which successfully sued the FCC over its go-ahead, has obtained and published a small pile of nonredacted versions of studies that the Commission claimed supported its pro-BPL position.

    The nonredacted documents, ARRL charges, offer a different assessment of the technology.

    New Docs Show FCC Glossed Over BPL Flaws

    Excerpt:

    Interestingly, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) has obtained and published on its website FCC studies it had obtained from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request it filed at the end of March. In October of 2007 the ARRL filed suit against the FCC, alleging that the FCC had held studies on BPL that may not have supported its own position on BPL until it was too late to comment on them. The FCC dismissed these documents as “internal communications” that did not factor in on its decision to adopt the BPL rules.

    The FCC fought releasing the documents for years, until new FOIA rules implemented by the Obama administration finally resulted in the documents being released earlier this week. The studies show, among other things, that the FCC redacted, manipulated and ignored data in order to support their own position that power lines were perfectly suited to broadband, while ignoring advise from numerous providers and vendors in the sector.

    … In Martin’s FCC, objective science and real data were an afterthought to political agendas or fealty to industry lobbyists.

    Naw … “Never been done before. Even in recent times.”

    -Unknown govt bureaucrat

    .

  20. Dave says:
    September 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    “……Who is responsible for ascertaining the scientific integrity of studies and reports submitted to our legislators? And, isn’t it about time that we have some kind of absolute standard of accepted research studies and reports?…..”

    It is well past time!

    I looked at some of the reports on Agriculture submitted that I found through Wikileaks and I was appalled by the outright lies. As far as I can tell the US government is now run by the lobbies and citizens are looked upon as “resources” to be squeezed dry of every last penny.

    Environmental Activists and others are nothing more than manipulated useful ‘Innocents’ Who is who and who is the enemy is a very confusing kaleidoscope, where a Canadian living in China, billionaire capitalist Maurice Strong is a hardline socialist promoting AGW, the UN’s Agenda 21 and Global Govenance while contributing to both the democratic and republican parties in the USA.

  21. “”””” Doug in Seattle says:

    September 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Flaunted is common US usage, even if not correct Queen’s English. “””””

    And “The Queen’s English” is not even correct British usage; there being no such thing.

    It is, and always has been “The King’s English” It is a technical term that dates from one of the King James or maybe one of the Charles.

    It refers to the approved language of the Royal Court, and is unrelated in any way to the current occupier of the Throne.

    At the moment “The Queen” (Elizabeth II) IS “The King”.

  22. Anyone want to bet on how many Hockey Stick Team members were among the 12 reviewers?

    I am betting on 3 minimum.

  23. Mods, the link to OIG above doesn’t lead directly to the report,

    EPA inspector general’s report: http://www.epa.gov/oig/

    This is the link to the entire report, well worth reading!

    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=e0584e33-d3da-4fba-b95a-e93548105e09

    This is our report on the subject evaluation conducted by the Office of Inspector General (OIG)
    of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This report contains findings that describe
    the problems the OIG has identified and corrective actions the OIG recommends. This report
    represents the opinion of the OIG and does not necessarily represent the final EPA position.
    Final determinations on matters in this report will be made by EPA managers in accordance with
    established audit resolution procedures.
    The estimated direct labor and travel costs for this report are $297,385.

    hmmmm….that was perhaps the best $300,000 investment made by the EPA, evah!

  24. From Dave on September 28, 2011 at 8:35 pm:

    The EPA is asking taxpayers to fund up to 230,000 new government workers to process all the extra paperwork, at an estimated cost of $21 billion.

    230,000 new unionized bureaucrats beholden to Democrats for their jobs, with a vested interest in keeping (liberal) Democrats in control of the White House so they can keep their jobs? Then there are their families as well who likewise want them to stay employed…

    Well, at a mere US$91,300 per job, that’s far cheaper than what was paid out under the Stimulus bill. Actually, it sounds too cheap, when figuring in training costs, government benefits, office setup and supplies… Were they planning on outsourcing to contractors using undocumented immigrants, and/or relying on that favorite D.C. symbol of (Democrat) power and dominance, unpaid interns?

  25. I tried to follow the links back to the source and the EPA link to the PDF is broken right now. I’d really like to know where this review came from. IF it is just more political nonsense then it won’t have legs. If it is legitimate, then it may provide legal grounds to block the EPA rules. I would love to be able to source this properly.

  26. I have been waiting for the day that EPA not only gets its hands slapped, but their heads cut off. My own past dealings with EPA (and their nitwit state delegated authority, TCEQ) made it quite obvious that they are not a scientific agency, but merely a political one that uses science for its nefarious ends. Protecting the environment is the last thing on their mind – instead, they are advancing the agenda of the environmentalist wacko-types who want us all to wash our clothes on rocks and otherwise return us to the Middle Ages. No sense of balance, no perspective in that agency. It is now time to act – 2012 elections are around the corner. Anyone with a plan to fundamentally reform EPA’s structure, alter its mission, and reduce its bureaucratic powers to unreasonably delay, financially burden, and hamper American economic activity will be supported by me.

    Eviscerate them politically, along with their leftist, Democratic allies.

  27. This is not the first time the EPA fudged things to get the results they wanted. Take their second-hand smoke ruling — it’s junk science.

    BTW: I don’t smoke, don’t own tobacco stocks or work for Big Tobacco. I also have no doubt that second-hand smoke isn’t good for me and no, I don’t want to breathe it. But that doesn’t change the fact that the EPA’s ruling on second-hand smoke is politicized junk science.

Comments are closed.