New FOIA lawsuit filed against the EPA

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The Environmental Law Center of the American Tradition Institute

PRESS RELEASE

Washington, D.C. Contact: Chris Horner

January 28, 2013 info@atinstitute.org

Today, the Environmental Law Center filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on behalf of the American Tradition Institute (ATI) in federal district court in Washington, DC. ATI seeks to compel EPA to end its eight-month stonewall of two requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regarding EPA’s close working relationship with two pressure groups with which EPA has uncomfortably close ties, at great taxpayer expense.

The complaint cited to journal papers and media reports in supporting its description that: “These two groups are the subject of heightened public interest for their close relationships with Defendant. [American Lung Association, or ALA] presents a ‘prototypical transition…to an organization actively engaged in lobbying and seeking funding from both government agencies and private firms in return for promoting their agenda’, lobbies and litigates for greater authority for EPA, runs billboard campaigns against politicians who challenge EPA, and has received $20,405,655 from EPA in the last 10 years for its programs. The Sierra Club employs a similar model and has close working relationships with senior Agency officials.”

The latter of course particularly refers to Sierra having promptly hired disgraced EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz, expressly to continue his work against a particular domestic industry (coal). Armendariz left EPA after a videotape revealed him acknowledging he expressed his “philosophy of enforcement” to EPA enforcement staff as akin to random crucifixions, used to keep subjects suitably respectful and “really easy to manage for the next few years.”

In an affidavit filed with yesterday’s complaint, ATI informed the court that one of the two FOIA specialists assigned these distinct requests admitted that a supervisor instructed her and a colleague to perform no work on them. Following this, EPA constructed a cul de sac of refusing to perform a search for responsive records until ATI agreed to pay estimated fees — which by law non-profits typically do not pay under FOIA — but which estimates EPA then refused to provide.

“This is just the latest shoe to drop in a disturbing history by this administration to keep the taxpayers from learning ‘what their government is up to’, as the Supreme Court once noted about why we have the FOIA”, said ATI counsel Christopher Horner. Horner recently also exposed EPA administrator Lisa Jackson’s use of a false-identity email account apparently to hide certain sensitive correspondence.

Horner continued, “Administration tactics we have found include senior government officials using false-identities, GMail, AOL and other private email accounts, private computers and servers, industry groups as go-betweens to avoid a paper trail, and even elaborate systems to destroy the government’s copies of records that, apparently, would be problematic if the public learned of them.” Horner detailed these examples in a recently released book, The Liberal War on Transparency.

Director of ATI’s Environmental Law Center, David Schnare, PhD, a former EPA enforcement attorney who is now also lead counsel in ATI’s “gas chamber” case challenging EPA’s illegal human experimentation, noted “This is not the EPA I once knew. The Agency has a long history of public service, but is repeatedly failing to obey its own regulations – to the detriment of a public overwhelmed by a regulatory onslaught increasingly depriving the nation of jobs without meaningful protections in return.”

EPA owes requesting parties a substantive response within twenty working days, at minimum indicating an intention to process the request, followed by a statement of how many responsive records were found and an expected production timetable. Four months ago EPA agreed with ATI on appeal that the Agency had not responded, promised to do so, and proceeded to ignore the requests and each of ATI’s efforts to obtain cooperation. In short, EPA is stonewalling, with the added element of one of its employees having admitted to how the stonewall was orchestrated.

EPA now must come to court to defend the indefensible.

If you wish an interview with Mr. Horner or Dr. Schnare , please contact ATI at info@atinstitute.org.

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41 Responses to New FOIA lawsuit filed against the EPA

  1. Ceetee says:

    Fantastic. The FOIA is a cornerstone of Democracy. It will be their undoing. Interesting times ahead. You can’t play silly buggers with taxpayers money and expect to get away with it. There will be a reckoning and if there isn’t, the system is broke.

  2. michaeljmcfadden says:

    The EPA began to get seriously controlled by special interests in the late 1980s, leading to its 1993 “Report On Environmental Tobacco Smoke” (for which they announced the conclusion a year before finishing the report, and which was declared void six years later by a federal judge*) Since then they’ve also moved very oddly in their focus on the single element of air pollution that can actually be used in the war on smoking: PM 2.5 — moving the guideline for “Safe” from 65, to 35, and finally, just this year, to 12 ppm. Soooo…. given that history in that one area in which I’m more familiar, I can VERY well believe that they would not only have lots to cover up in some of their other areas, but that they would also be quite arrogant in responding to attempts to expose them.

    I believe the key in both areas lies in tracing the people and the connections with other organizations — such as is being done here with the ALA (and their wonderful dual-purpose “gas-masks for the children” approach to “public education”). What crossover/connections through the years can be traced among the triad of ALA/Sierra/EPA? Imagine if any such level of connections existed between the FDA and Big Tobacco and the fuss that would be made over it. The playing field for government administrative agencies and for government officials who refuse to abide by legal requirements for filing reports and accountings, should be on the same level ground as that for ordinary citizens. Imagine if the IRS demanded your records and you stonewalled them for eight months and tried to get them to pay your “expenses” in providing them?

    - MJM

  3. M Simon says:

    PM 2.5 ? Care to explain what you are talking about? Or is this a secret code only for the cognizetti ?

  4. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    PM2.5 means Particulate Matter with an ‘aerodynamic diameter’ of 2.5 µm (two and a half microns). It could be any shape.

    PM10 means 10 µm and so on. The number is the mass of all particles less than that size, not a particular size. For example all the PM1.0 is included in PM 2.5 amd all PM 2.5 is included in PM 10 mass.

    PM4.0 or smaller can be easily inhaled deep into the lungs and is thus classed as ‘respirable’. As <PM2.5 is a commonly measured size, it is widely used and there is no argument that it has health effects. Grass fires are prolific sources, for example.

    The domestic combustion of biomass and coal produces very small particles, usually no larger than PM1.0 so it is basically 100% included in a PM 2.5 measurement. Particles smaller than 0.1 µm are much more difficult to detect that ones above that because the small ones do not interact with visible light and a lot of detectors are visible laser-based (light-scattering instruments).

    The WHO standard for PM2.5 is 50 µg per cubic metre. If you were in a room with 500 µg concentration it is unlikely you would be able to see it. It will show up in a flash photo as a white haze in the photograph. 50 is very low. 12 is nothing. The city of Beijing is often 150 and on bad days, 500. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, is famously polluted with the annual average in one neighbourhood being 620 µg/cubic metre. The city air peaks in November over 4400 µm because of the multiple ignitions per day of coal stoves (because it is cold, but not all that cold), vehicular traffic (old cars) and wind blown 'fugitive dust'. It is frequently over 1500 µg which looks like a light grey fog.

  5. NeedleFactory says:

    M Simon @ 10:16pm:
    I think michaeljmcfadden means PPM, not PM — hence “2.5 parts per million”.

  6. davidxn says:

    “PM 2.5 ? Care to explain what you are talking about?”

    I guess Google is broken for you?

  7. michaeljmcfadden says:

    Crispin, well-explained and correct! Thank you. It’s also sometimes referred to as FPM (either “Fine Particulate Matter” or “Fluorescing Particulate Matter” — two very different things evidently in terms of carcinogenesis, but they get treated by the Antis of whatever stripe as though they are the same thing. I like to say it’s similar to comparing a teaspoon of sugar crystals to a teaspoon of arsenic crystals and claiming that they’re equally safe/deadly since they’re the same size. The EPA structure/personnel seems to be largely directed by “true believers” who are willing to bend the science in order to make it come out with the conclusions that will lead to the politically correct actions “for the greater good.” The smoking bans of the 90s based on their report were a prime example of that and opened the door for them to achieve social change without having to lay down “regulatory guidelines” (That was eventually the excuse used to nullify the smoking court judgement I referenced above: the 1992 Report was said to be only “advisory” and thus not subject to legal standards and criticism.)

    The EPA, FDA, and other “Administrative Law” type agencies have learned how to use such loopholes to ram through all sorts of regulations and “laws” that govern us but which never would have passed the test of Congress.

    And we’ve let them… because it’s “for the greater good.”

    :/
    MJM

  8. temp says:

    “enforcement attorney who is now also lead counsel in ATI’s “gas chamber” case challenging EPA’s illegal human experimentation,”

    I really wish they would file this stuff in the UN and euro courts as well to get some more public attention on this issue.

    Someone needs to be put in jail forever, for either outright fraud or for conducting clearly illegal human testing.

    The faster people wake up the the reality of what obama and friends really are, the faster he can be dealt with.

  9. Streetcred says:

    ,

    PM 2.5

    Go here and examine “Top Stories” for the history http://wp.me/yHMP

  10. JDN says:

    @michaeljmcfadden
    I’m not sure the EPA is wrong on this one. Most of the experimental results for the effects of small particulate matter on vascular and mental health in animals are alarmist and not sound. This is due to the animals being subjected to large doses of particulates for short periods of time. However, humans live far longer than rats and have greater complexity in their microvasculature. It appears that micro-particles are a real health threat. The jury is still out, but, the EPA may be vindicated for improper decision making on this issue.

  11. Petrossa says:

    @temp
    The Eurocourts are even less likely to accept the case or rule favorably then the US ones. The EU is still completely under the spell of ecowarriorcommisioner for the Environment Connie Hedegaard, the most monomanic combattant for the Greenpeace type special interest groups.
    She is the reason why the Eu as the only one the world still actively adheres to Kyoto.
    If she had her way we all would be generating energy with a bicycle driven generator.

  12. wayne Job says:

    It is now beyond the time that the control freaks in the EPA were outed they ceased being useful when they moved away from science and adopted a new religion.

    It is sad when some thing that could have been overall good for the country becomes a dictatorial monster with a wink and a nod from the emperor.

    One can only hope that this endeavour for truth can negotiate the hurdles put in place to hide the nature and the goals of this secretive organisation, and all the nasty implications and tangled webs of deceit and control that lay hidden from the public.

  13. Eric Simpson says:

    Of course, Obama and the EPA are dead set on bypassing congress and doing to America what is happening to Europe. And what is happening to Europe? From a great article, Leaked UN report confirms global warming a net benefit to mankind:
    Europeans believe warming could drive them back to the stone age. They may be right, just not the way they envision it. Their misplaced faith in global warming — not warming itself – could result in much of Europe reverting to a Neolithic lifestyle.
    European Union law mandates an 80 percent cut in CO2 emissions by 2050. In Britain, many industries face a 140 percent increase in energy costs by 2020. Planned offshore wind farms will cost Britons $10,000 per person. France and Germany with massive shale resources ban exploration. Germany has half the photovoltaic capacity on the planet even though a top German utility executive compares this to growing pineapples in Alaska.
    Europe is destroying the foundation of its prosperity because of obeisance to a dead religion – not to mention that it also is going bankrupt from unsustainable debt and social programs.

  14. Ian W says:

    The EPA is being used as a way of controlling industry in all states by regulation rather than by laws. Virginia has just won a court case against the EPA which was insisting on classifying storm water run-off as ‘pollution’. There has been considerable disquiet among farmers and industry on the ‘dust’ regulations and the possibility of tightening them causing not only industry but also farmers considerable problems. See http://www.cato.org/blog/epa-backs-dust-standard for a discussion on particulate regulations.

    In all these cases the EPA takes a linear view of ‘safe levels’ of what it is regulating slowly tightening regulations until their target industry cannot operate – current targets are mining and coal and power generation using coal.

    As an analogy. Uncleaned and smelly drains could be considered a health hazard, so regulations on cleaning drains are put into place and all drains are now clean and no odor. So – “we made people clean drains and this saved (name a number out of the air) lives. If we make drains cleaner still then (name another linear projection number) of lives will be saved – therefore drains must be sterile at all times to save thousands of lives”. Of course this means that the drains cannot be used as drains or they would not remain sterile and “thousands of lives would be lost. This is the line of argument that you will hear from the EPA and its supporters all the time it is a way of regulating or even preventing industrial processes while making all the right environmental noises. The ‘number of lives saved’ is a simple linear projection which is totally unjustified by any evidence, They use terms like PM10s and µm and µg per cubic metre knowing that the target audience will not usually understand and it sounds environmentally friendly while crippling target industries. Some industries will actually cooperate if the target is one of their competitors then find that they are next on the list.

  15. Bloke down the pub says:

    The only relevant question is what will the msm do with this information. Being a cynical old sod, I expect the answer to that is bugger all.

  16. MattS says:

    Crispin in Waterloo,
    ” As <PM2.5 is a commonly measured size, it is widely used and there is no argument that it has health effects."

    Actually the health affects of PM2.5 are arguable.

    http://junkscience.com/2013/01/22/chinas-bad-air-puts-the-lie-to-epa-scare-tactics/

    Beijing recently had PM2.5 levels peak at 886 micrograms per cubic meter. Only 4 deaths were attributed to this event and all four of them were the result of visibility problems not from breathing the PM2.5

  17. Chris Schoneveld says:

    MattS says: Beijing recently had PM2.5 levels peak at 886 micrograms per cubic meter. Only 4 deaths were attributed to this event and all four of them were the result of visibility problems not from breathing the PM2.5

    Ah, you thought it would cause instantaneous death?

  18. JDN, you wrote, “The jury is still out, but, the EPA may be vindicated for improper decision making on this issue.” You may be right about the jury still being out: I’ll certainly grant the possibility that even very low levels of PM or sunshine could be harmful; BUT… I don’t think anything vindicates a scientific body for casting aside its scientific principles simply in order to present a conclusion that it happens to BELIEVE is correct.

    That’s not science.

    If an off-duty cop got into an argument about a parking space with someone and pulled out his gun and shot the guy between the eyes… and it later turned out the guy’s car was filled with terrorist explosives… would you say the cop was vindicated? What if the cop later said, “Well, y’know, he kinda LOOKED like a terrorist type to me at the time.” Would he be vindicated then?

    - MJM

  19. Doug Huffman says:

    Given the EPA track record, I am sure that they are wrong.

    Humans, sailors, submarine sailors, have lived happily with diesel combustion byproducts for a bit over a Century now. Genevieve Matanoski’s Health Effects of Low Level Radiation in Shipyard Workers found hormetic effects that can’t, as I recall, be separated from combustion byproducts.

    FedGov is so desperate to denigrate diesel that we had to defend against their accusation of diesel fuel as a deleterious material for its traces of cadmium. Aboard ship, ‘orange’ electrical components are probably plated with an alloy of cadmium.

  20. starzmom says:

    It seems to me that at some point, a very strict PM2.5 standard simply can’t be met, regardless of how much human activity is curtailed. If significant sources are grass fires, maybe forest fires, blown dust, and the like, then a low standard is impossible to meet by any human action. And, of course, that is the point–curtailing corporate human action.

    I note, however, that Athens has a huge air pollution problem right now. Cold Greeks are burning all manner of combustibles, including old furniture with paint on it, to stay warm, since electricity is so costly. People will do whatever it takes to survive, and that will ultimately be far more environmentally destructive than a more lenient PM2.5 standard.

  21. MattS says:

    One more thing in the PM2.5 event in Beijing. Based on the EPA numbers for the death toll in the US from PM2.5 Beijing’s daily death rate during this event should have nearly doubled, going from a normal of around 274 to 518.

    Not even the Chinese government could hide that many deaths in a major metropolitan area. Where are the bodies?

  22. JDN says:

    @michaeljmcfadden
    People get “vindicated” for doing the wrong thing that turns out to be right. It’s the American way. All I’m saying is that they are wrong about so many things and have also done the wrong thing. Why not just stick to those things?

  23. MattS says:

    Chris Schoneveld,

    According to the EPA pm2.5 can kill within hours at concentrations an order of magnitude below the Beijing event.

  24. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    @MattS and Starzmom and anyone else interested

    >Actually the health affects of PM2.5 are arguable.

    Health effects are difficult to quantify when people eat such a bad diet.

    When I was young I lived for a couple of years in Nigeria and during the Harmattan the air was so full of Sahelian dust you could not see 1 km. That is probably >1000 µg/m3. Are there millions of deaths caused by this air pollution all over Africa below the Sahel? What about people living in the Sahel? Gimme a break. What about manure dust in barns. Or ploughing, or haying, or making furniture? Do people have a clue what ‘normal’ is for life on this planet?

    So the obvious answer is it matters what the dust is and how the evil portion of it affects the body. The composition of particles in the air of cities has been examined by several people. Prof Lodoysamba in Ulaanbaatar, and many others, especially at the University of Stuttgaart where the ‘book’ was written. New Zealand has been active in particle analysis as has the University of Johannesburg (lots of local pollution eJozi).

    There is no doubt that asthma is provoked by exposure to PM2.5. In Ulaanbaatar (which I keep mentioning because it is incredibly polluted and has been studied so intensely) most children and adults suffer from asthma-like symptoms in winter. You can read about it at

    http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2011/12/15633946/air-quality-analysis-ulaanbaatar-improving-air-quality-reduce-health-impacts-vol-1-2-main-report

    and one of the reports is

    http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2012/01/16/000386194_20120116025654/Rendered/PDF/660820v10revis00Mongolia0Report0Web.pdf

    >Beijing recently had PM2.5 levels peak at 886 micrograms per cubic meter. Only 4 deaths were attributed to this event and all four of them were the result of visibility problems not from breathing the PM2.5.

    I have a vague suspicion about official attribution to the effects of the air quality in Beijing. I am not sure why people talk about Beijing so much. It is a city with pretty clean air compared with others like Tai Yuan in Shanxi where, you may recall, iPhones are made.

    The WB’s Jostein Nygaard (sp?) calculated the annual death toll from air pollution in China to be about 866,000. The ’cause’ is contributory in the sense that you have to have underlying conditions. That can be played two ways – either you blame the death on the immediate aggravation (no ability to breathe) or on the underlying condition (life-long adult smoker). I don’t know what the official attribution of mortality is to air quality problems but I suspect it is ‘lower’. I compliment Jostein for reviving the report from its administrative grave a few months after it was buried.

    There is a certain gallows humour in Ulaanbaatar about the air. Most men there are cigarette smokers (tobacco companies are targetting Third World countries strongly in order to capture a new, younger generation in an environment of low regulation). Mongolia is no exception. It is joked that people are filtering the air through a lit cigarette in order to burn some of the condensible volatiles floating around. It is probably true if you were to examine what goes in and comes out. Investigating what is in cigarette smoke I found extraordinarily high levels of CO which has an effect on the brain (makes you dull). If there is a wisp of visible smoke in the air from someone exhaling (we use exhaled cigarette smoke to test PM instruments) and you suck a touch of it into the PM meter, it shoots off the end of the scale above 150,000 µg/m3 in one second. Because I know people who have sucked on cigarettes for hours per day at levels far above this, I am suspicious that living in an environment of 50 µg/m3 is pretty clean and safe.

    As was pointed out above, what the PM is composed of matters a great deal. Condensed tars are really bad for the lungs. And plutonium dust. Organic carbon (OC), not so much. BC? The jury is still deliberating but it is on the high side of Bad. Particles above 4 µg/m3 are expelled (they get caught by the hairs and moisture before going very far). Large particles might make you cough but the long term effects are limited. Cigarette smoke, being smouldered biomass particles of incomplete combustion with evaporated tars, makes very fine particles. My father liked them a lot. He died at 41 from metastasized lung cancer.

  25. Philip Lloyd says:

    There is a long and very solid history of dust levels in underground mines, because if the miners breathe in too many fine particules they are likely to get silicosis or other nasty diseases (black lung in coal mines). There is a respirable fraction in the range roughly 2 to 0.2microns in size which can reach the deep lung to cause these problems. The majority of larger sized particles are caught by the body’s protective mechanisms before they reach the deep areas of the lung. The particles less than 0.2 microns behave like a gas and don’t precipitate significantly. To make certain they get most of the damaging stuff, health agencies use PM2.5 as the measure of the potential hazard.

  26. Gail Combs says:

    I am not up on this subject but I would like to bring up a point made by my old high school Bio teacher. Human lungs have Cilia that move particulate matter out of the lungs.

    We know that humans climbed down from the trees and started to live by hunting on the plains. The plains are dusty especially when you are following large herds of animals. We also know that primitive humans used fire to drive animals and to change the landscape to provide grass for their chosen prey. Later fire was used in slash & burn style agriculture. Heck fire is still used in ag to clear and sterilize fields. My neighbors just did so to a weed infested field they want to make productive again.

    Humans did not evolve in a completely sterile landscape wrapped in cotton batting to protect us from the natural environment and that type of environment is proving to be bad for us.

    Farm Kids Are Healthy
    ….A study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology has found that some non-farm families are diagnosed with asthma nearly twice as much as their farm-dwelling counterparts. The results for hay fever were even more pronounced, with nearly four times as many non-farm family members diagnosed.

    “Animals in general can be beneficial. A study published last year in the Journal of Pediatrics suggests that babies raised around dogs are 31% more likely to be healthy. Cats were shown to improve a baby’s health by 6%. The research suggests that exposure to pets may help children’s immune systems mature faster, with animals helping them grow antibodies to better combat infections.

    “In addition to animals, studies show that having even a small backyard garden means you’ll eat five times as many vegetables, which can dramatically decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.”…

    It also means you are exposed to more soil and dust and microbes…

  27. MattS says:

    Crispin in Waterloo,

    In the US the EPA is moving to lower the standard for PM2.5 to 12ug/m3 on the basis that it is so lethal that it can kill within hours at the current standard 35ug/m3. If it’s that dangerous where are the bodies in Beijing? If it’s not that dangerous why lower the current standard?

    “There is no doubt that asthma is provoked by exposure to PM2.5.”

    Asthma can be provoked by a million other things as well including things that are a natural part of the environment such s mold spores and pollen. Sorry but this isn’t a basis for insanely low standards that are arguably lower than what the ambient levels would be if people didn’t exist.

  28. john robertson says:

    Bureaucracy exists to perpetuate bureaus.
    Mass dismantling of these agencies is the only cure, for even when curtailed they morph into black holes of public wealth and govt personel.
    NASA and moslem outreach being the most recent example of this cancer.
    There is no US space capability but the agency spends on.

  29. Doug Proctor says:

    In the wheat-producing areas, there was a recognized thing called “elevator-man disease”. It was a fatal emphysema caused by breathing in fine partlicles of grain dust (rye is worse than wheat). The elevator man was the fellow who took in everyone’s grain at the “elevator”, i.e. the storage bin next to the railway line. Although it was a great job in many ways, the constant exposure to grain dust shortened the fellows lives.

    A similar disease affected the farmers prior to closed cabins (air-conditioned) on tractors, combines, swathers and the like. In these cases regular dirt dust was also the problem.

    Hazards exist. Occupational or residential, you can’t get away from them. All you can do is manage them. Minimize them to reasonable, not “possible” levels: possible is always zero, simply by ceasing the activity. But that is not reasonable.

    Linear, no-threshold considerations of risk, the Precautionary Principle, the eco-green, anti-money (pro-life, it is claimed) view that no risk is the only acceptable risk, drives us into this current Granny State. Risk exists when lives are lived. What we need is to understand the risks we face, accept the situation, and then get on with it, despite knowing that for some things will turn our badly.

  30. 126E says:

    Commentors are wasting a lot of time referring to situations where some gross exposure over a lifetime causes a disease or fatality. The first principal of toxicology is that the dose makes the poison. A simple example is aspirin, taking a couple may save your life, but a bottle full will kill you. So, the EPA must be held to direct empirical evidence of harm and not multiple orders of magnitude extrapolations from gross exposures. I know has is a pie in the sky chance of ever being implemented but would be a productive use of our legislatures time.

  31. Matthew R Marler says:

    JDN: Most of the experimental results for the effects of small particulate matter on vascular and mental health in animals are alarmist and not sound. This is due to the animals being subjected to large doses of particulates for short periods of time. However, humans live far longer than rats and have greater complexity in their microvasculature. It appears that micro-particles are a real health threat. The jury is still out, but, the EPA may be vindicated for improper decision making on this issue.

    You might be right, but if EPA were confident that they were truly on the up-and-up they’d probably release all of the documents in a hurry. Secrecy comes naturally to bureaucracies and may not imply anything in particular instances, but they need to get everything out in the open for the citizens to judge. I hope that the suit is successful.

  32. temp says:

    Petrossa says:
    January 28, 2013 at 12:01 am

    I agree with your points however my goal wouldn’t be for the EU courts to rule on the matter. I know they will carry the party line which is “government/eco terrorist” “good”.

    The thing is you can stir up the US haters and get the media to put a huge spot light on this matter. Cover ups work because not enough people are watching the pea under the cup. The US haters will gladly run huge about of propaganda using this issue and then the EPA won’t be able to simply cover it up like they are currently successfully doing.

  33. DaveG says:

    EPA now must come to court to defend the indefensible.
    Obama whole term has been about defending the indefensible, by every dirty trick in the book!

  34. Gail Combs says:

    Doug Proctor says:
    January 28, 2013 at 9:05 am

    In the wheat-producing areas, there was a recognized thing called “elevator-man disease”. It was a fatal emphysema caused by breathing in fine partlicles of grain dust (rye is worse than wheat)….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    From The 1994 Cave Song Fake Book

    Histoplasmosis
    A sad story I have to tell,
    About a caver I knew well.
    He frequented the places where the rain never falls
    Where the sun never shines, where on water fluted walls
    Bats do dwell.

    He took his topo map and went to scout,
    For a cave he had always heard about.
    He had talked to all the farmers and he listened with a grin
    To the story that they told him where four people had gone in
    And not come out.

    He was warned by everyone to stay away,
    That he shouldn’t go beyond the light of day
    Where the enemy was luring in the dry and dusty air
    But to him it made no difference, he decided to go there
    Anyway.

    In a short time the entrance he had found,
    Feeling just a little scared he looked around
    But he saw nothing suspicious so he trolly-dotted on
    Knowing nothing had ever happened in the many times he’d gone
    Underground.

    He took off down the passage with a bound,
    He trolly-dotted through a guano mound,
    He could’ve walked around it and it wouldn’t have delayed him
    But he didn’t know that there Histoplasma capsulatum
    Did abound.

    The enemy gathered forces silently,
    Waiting for the perfect opportunity.
    When this bold intrepid caver with he limestone in his blood
    Stubbed his toe and fell face downward in the guano-covered mud
    Oh tragedy.

    With disgust he raked the guano from his hair
    At the time he was completely unaware
    Of the sneaky little critters whose primary occupation
    Was to upset respiration and effect contamination.
    TB or not TB.

    c’est Histoplasmosis. . . .
    Well they’ve had him in a fungus ward since then
    And he’s gonna be there till I don’t know when
    He’s had to give up caving and I know he must regret it
    But as soon as they have cured him he’ll go caving and he’ll get it
    Again.

    (I was hoping for a utube of a performance. Oh, well)

    Histo is a well known problem for cavers and farmers. The chances are the grain elevator problem is a similar fungus. They are tough to diagnose and tougher to treat. Rye is known for a fungus called Ergot too.

    ..Population densities of spore forming bacilli were significantly higher for Abruzzi Rye than for soybean… Three of the four test plants (castor bean, sword bean, and Abruzzi rye) had significantly more internal bacteria than soybean…
    http://www.bashanfoundation.org/kloepper/kloepperpopulations.pdf

    (Rye was the worst)

    The problem is separating out the effects of dust from the effects of sub-clinical infections with fungi or bacteria and at this point I would not trust the EPA or CDC to actually tell us the truth.

  35. Dave N says:

    “There is no US space capability but the agency spends on”

    No HSF capability (other than perhaps providing crew for the ISS), but increasing our knowledge of space isn’t just about putting humans into it.

  36. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    @MattS

    >In the US the EPA is moving to lower the standard for PM2.5 to 12ug/m3 on the basis that it is so lethal that it can kill within hours at the current standard 35ug/m3.

    Obviously that is ridiculous. The average air quality indoors in the EPA office is certainly much more than 12 or 35. Offices had quite high PM levels because of hte carpets and air con.

    >If it’s that dangerous where are the bodies in Beijing? If it’s not that dangerous why lower the current standard?

    There is no explanation for the current proposed standard. It can only be met by not burning anything and I saw how that worked out in Colorado last summer (I was there).

  37. Abiogenesis says:

    Dave N says:
    January 28, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    “There is no US space capability but the agency spends on”

    No HSF capability (other than perhaps providing crew for the ISS), but increasing our knowledge of space isn’t just about putting humans into it.
    ———————————————————————————————-

    Sometimes you have to be there to understand the humour!

  38. MattS says:

    Crispin in Waterloo,

    “Obviously that is ridiculous.”

    I don’t disagree that it’s ridiculous. However the EPA has made that claim, so take it up with them.

  39. MattS says:

    Abiogenesis,

    “No HSF capability (other than perhaps providing crew for the ISS), but increasing our knowledge of space isn’t just about putting humans into it.”

    A side from studying objects in our own solar system that do or might at some point have an effect on the earth how much is there to learn that will be of any practical use if we don’t eventually intend to “put humans into it”?

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