More challenges to EPA’s objectivity in its GHG endangerment findings.

More on the story of the EPA being challenged as to its objectivity in its GHG endangerment findings.

Ashley Thorne, Executive Director, National Association of Scholars, writes in an email:

After the EPA stonewalled international trade lawyer Lawrence Kogan’s FOIA request, saying it was confused about what documents he wanted, Kogan wrote back with a 145-page document spelling out his exact request and pointing out potential smoking guns. My NAS colleague Rachelle DeJong breaks it down here:

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Integrity and Objectivity: The Shaken Pillars of Environmental Science

by Rachelle DeJong, National Association of Scholars

In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency began classifying greenhouse gases as pollutants and regulating their emissions. That meant that normal economic activities—tilling a small farm, running  a local store—that produced normal amounts of the naturally occurring vapor became potentially subject to EPA standards and, for those that exceeded the limits, crushing fines of up to $37,500 per day.

The EPA’s authority to regulate emissions, though, rests on shaky legal and environmental grounds. A small nonprofit of indomitable determination, the Institute for Trade, Standards, and Sustainable Development (ITSSD) has set itself the task of finding out whether the EPA has been telling the truth. NAS, as an academic organization that seeks to promote rigorous science and open debate, and as an interested observer of the way the EPA’s findings become the basis for college campus sustainability initiatives, has a stake in promoting accountability and transparency. EPA pronouncements find their way into campus offices of sustainability, greenhouse gas reduction plans, and sustainability tracking sheets.  If ITSSD’s investigations discredit the EPA’s pronouncements, colleges and university should guard the integrity of their environmental commitments and verify the EPA’s findings before acting on them.

Redefinitions

But first, the facts. The EPA’s legal authority to regulate air quality stems from the 1970 Clean Air Act, which authorized the agency to limit the emission of pollutants—“pollutants” at the time being understood as traditional industrial byproducts, such as SOx or ozone. In order to wedge greenhouse gases (GHGs) under the umbrella of “pollutants,” the EPA had to expand the term to include any environmentally dangerous emission. A single document, the Greenhouse Gas Endangerment Finding, did the trick. It surveyed scientific research and concluded that GHGs were dangerous, were pollutants, and hence were within the EPA’s regulatory purview.

The Supreme Court recently put a sternly worded end to this “unheralded” arrogation of power, calling the EPA’s retroactive classification of GHG and usurpation of congressional authority “patently unreasonable—not to say outrageous.” But regardless of the legal argument against the EPA’s regulation of GHGs, activists say the environmental question still remains. Would society be better off if the EPA were preventing GHGs from permeating our atmosphere? After all, the agency conducted a thorough review of the scientific literature on the topic and concluded that GHGs were dangerous to human health and to the wellbeing of the planet. If the planet is warming and GHGs are the cause, it’s only responsible to limit their emission and protect the earth’s temperature from dangerous spikes that threaten biodiversity, human society, and the topography. So runs the standard environmental line.

But there is increasing concern that GHGs are not quite so harmful to the planet as the EPA might have us think, and that the agency may have rigged its data and hidden the evidence. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has acknowledged in a speech before the National Academy of Sciences that her job requires shielding the data “from those not qualified to analyze it.” Partly in response, Congress is considering a bill, the Secret Science Reform Act, that would further elucidate transparency standards that the EPA must meet, and would forbid the agency from practicing any “secret science” that hides important details from the public.

Here is where ITSSD’s work comes in. Headed by the international trade lawyer Lawrence Kogan, ITSSD has set about the task of finding out exactly how the EPA conducted its 2011 Greenhouse Gas Endangerment Finding.  The organization has just launched its “International Regulatory Transparency” initiative, a substantial part of which involves investigating the peer review process used by the EPA in the Finding. ITSSD has uncovered evidence that indicates the EPA may have compromised the process by using reviewers with ties to the research being reviewed, financial ties to the EPA itself, and other types of conflicted interest. The EPA has also failed to publish on its website various transparency documents that are standard operating procedure among federal agencies.

Peer Review

It turns out that the EPA is required by law to abide by meticulous peer review and transparency regulations, to substantiate all regulations (including those on emissions) with scientific evidence, and to make all such scientific evidence available to the public and open for public comment. The federal Information Quality Act mandates these transparency standards, which the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) further elucidates in its Information Quality Act Guidelines:

Agencies shall treat information quality as integral to every step of an agency’s development of information, including creation, collection, maintenance, and dissemination. This process shall enable the agency to substantiate the quality of the information it has disseminated through documentation or other means appropriate to the information.

To find out exactly what the EPA has—or has not—been doing, ITSSD has detailed the precise procedures that the OMB requires the EPA to follow, and checked to see whether the EPA complied. The peer review process, ITSSD found, is supposed to be rigorous. For research classified as  “highly influential scientific assessments” (HISAs) and “influential scientific information (ISI)—the two categories of data that carry the most weight in EPA analyses, and the types of data the EPA relied upon in its GHG Endangerment Finding—the EPA is required to double check the findings through peer review by expert, but disinterested, third parties. Per the governing rules specified in the Office of Management and Budget’s “Peer Review Bulletin,” the labyrinthine review process includes

  • Selecting peer reviewers on the basis of “expertise, experience and skills,” sometimes including specialists from multiple disciplines, in order to ensure a “sufficiently broad and diverse” team of reviewers.
  • Ensuring that peer reviewers who are federal employees have no conflicts of interest between the federal agency that employs them and the EPA hiring them for the peer review, financial ties to stakeholders affected by the proposed regulations, financial ties to the EPA itself,  or any ties to the researchers whose work is under review.
  • Certifying that the peer reviewers have not conducted or participated in the research under review, or work for the agency that conducted the research.
  • Avoiding repeated use of the same reviewers for multiple assessments “unless his or her participation is essential and cannot be obtained elsewhere.”

The team of reviewers, once selected, is then supposed to follow an equally rigorous process of verifying the research. The EPA must provide and the reviewers must familiarize themselves with “sufficient information–including background information about key studies or models” before conducting the review. During the review process, the EPA is to publish on its website the scientific research in question, so that members of the public may comment on it and stakeholders affected by the proposed regulations may register any concerns. At the end, the reviewers are to write a report that details their review process and their conclusions, sign their names, and list their affiliations and credentials. The EPA must then respond to their review with a short rejoinder expressing agreement or disagreement with the result of the review report, outlining plans to act on the results, and explaining why these actions are the appropriate responses to the report. This report (with both the reviewers’ and the EPA’s comments) are to be available to the public on the EPA’s website.

But, as Kogan notes in a letter to the EPA, “Unfortunately, EPA has failed to publicly disclose how it substantiated its compliance with any of these IQA peer review objectivity, transparency and records requirements.” The documents required to be published on the EPA website have gone missing—or were never there to begin with. There are unexplained instances of the EPA repeatedly using the same peer reviewers, contrary to OMB guidelines. And there appear to be multiple instances of the EPA relying on reviewers who worked for the research agencies that generated the reports under review.

FOIA

To confirm its suspicions, ITSSD filed in March a request under the Freedom of Information Act asking the EPA for documents that pertained to its peer review process in the GHG Endangerment Finding. The EPA stonewalled the request, asking for various supplementary explanations and documents and ultimately rejecting the request. The agency pled “confusion” over which documents ITSSD sought. Undeterred, last week ITSSD filed a second request, this one 145 pages long, complete with annotations, appendices, and other detailed directions, leaving the EPA no room for misunderstanding.

To ensure it gets the full story, ITSSD is requesting documents dated January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2011 that relate to the Greenhouse Gas Endangerment Finding that fall into one of four categories:

1. EPA-developed and reviewed documents “highly-influential scientific assessments” (HISAs) behind the EPA regulations.

2. Third-parties’ peer review of third-party-developed HISAs which the EPA “embraced, adopted and disseminated as its own” in support of the finding.

3. An interagency panel’s peer review of the EPA-developed Technical Summary Document, which contained a summary and synthesis of the 28 HISAs designated as core reference documents. (ITSSD believes the EPA may have never compiled this required document.)

4. The administrative mechanisms meant to ensure that stakeholders could get information about and could ask for a reconsideration of scientific information that the EPA and other third parties had used in developing regulations.

The aim is to determine whether the EPA complied with the provisions of the Information Quality Act. If it did not, ITSSD may have grounds to bring a lawsuit against the EPA.

For better or for worse, we live in an age of scientific supremacy, when “scientific facts” serve as trump cards that override most other considerations, including other kinds of “facts.” In principle, this commitment to science entails a commitment to reason and to the idea of objective truth. But practice doesn’t always follow principle. People can be tempted to invoke the authority of science without abiding by the exacting standards of evidence, argument, and openness to alternative hypotheses on which that authority rests. Fraud is distressingly common, and more common still are shortcuts that seem to the enthusiasts to be just harmless ways of getting around nuisance impediments, but which really vitiate the whole inquiry. Peer review, as a self-policing measure, forms the backbone of academic integrity by protecting against faulty, malicious, or simply careless research. Peer review, properly conducted, improves the likelihood that data get evaluated on their merits, rather than on conformity to consensus. And the process soothes the public conscience with confidence that public policy rests on the basis of objective evidence, not on the whim and wish of the regulator. NAS salutes ITSSD for its work to uphold the principle of peer review and the ideal of intellectual integrity.

Source: http://www.nas.org/articles/integrity_and_objectivity_the_shaken_pillars_of_environmental_science.

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67 Responses to More challenges to EPA’s objectivity in its GHG endangerment findings.

  1. cirby says:

    Chellenges?

  2. pat says:

    meanwhile, over in the EU:

    10 July: Reuters: Ben Garside: Carbon import tariffs could torpedo global climate deal- EU official
    A move by the European Union to impose duties on carbon-intensive imports would scupper the chances of striking a global agreement to tackle climate change next year, the bloc’s top climate official said on Thursday…
    Last month France suggested measures could be taken against imported goods to ease concerns that the 2030 goals could threaten heavy industries competing with foreign rivals that might be subject to laxer environmental goals.
    But Jos Delbeke, director general of the European Commission’s climate department, said that raising the possibility of import tariffs in the run-up to the global agreement would risk angering the bloc’s trading partners.
    “If we were to put a border tax on the table before Paris, it’s the recipe that could torpedo that process,” he told a online meeting of industry officials on the so-called carbon leakage issue in Brussels…
    In April, EU lawmakers effectively reversed a 2009 law to force international flights using EU airports to pay for their emissions after countries including the U.S. and China complained that it infringed on their sovereignty.
    “The aviation debate was exactly like that, in treating every consumer in the world the same, we got a cold shower over us,” Delbeke said…
    http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/07/10/eu-carbon-idINL6N0PL41R20140710

    ***”let’s not commercialise this space” says ActionAid spokesman! LOL.

    10 July: Reuters: Megan Rowling: UN drops plan to charge for events at climate talks
    The United Nations Climate Change Secretariat has withdrawn a plan to start charging non-governmental organisations and other groups to hold events and exhibits on the sidelines of U.N. climate negotiations, after protests the move might exclude the voices of the poor.
    At talks in Bonn last month, the secretariat announced it would begin charging a fixed, flat-rate fee of $1,000 for each side event and exhibit beginning at December’s U.N. climate conference in Lima.
    But in response to opposition from a range of government delegations and climate change campaign groups, the secretariat backed down on June 30, and said it would continue to facilitate the events and exhibits “using existing resources” – a decision welcomed by civil society…
    The rapid expansion in events and exhibits – with the average number of annual applications quadrupling over the past six years compared to the preceding decade – has put increasing pressure on the secretariat staff charged with handling them.
    At the 2013 Warsaw conference, for example, there were about 175 official side events dealing with issues such as women’s access to climate finance, the costs of natural disasters, how to make a new global climate deal more equitable, cutting agricultural emissions and insurance against climate risks.
    The note from the secretariat suggested that working within existing resources “may mean reduction of services”, without giving details…
    There are concerns the conference centre in Peru may be too small for the 12,000 or so delegates who flock to the talks – a number that is likely to rise as interest grows ahead of the 2015 deadline for a new global climate deal…
    Development and green NGOs applauded the withdrawal of the cost recovery plan.
    “I am glad sense prevailed, and the U.N. has recognised its responsibility to ensure that all voices, particularly of the weaker sections (of society), are heard in these conferences,” said Harjeet Singh of the international charity ActionAid. “It is the voices of poor communities and civil society that add soul to these climate talks…let’s not commercialise this space.”***…
    http://www.trust.org/item/20140710140925-0fxl5

    insanity rules.

  3. tmitsss says:

    Does the ITSSD have a tip jar?

  4. JohnWho says:

    Ah, the Institute for Trade, Standards, and Sustainable Development (ITSSD) has the potential for being a “tipping point”.

  5. …last week ITSSD filed a second request, this one 145 pages long, complete with annotations, appendices, and other detailed directions, leaving the EPA no room for misunderstanding.
    ————
    What “misunderstanding”? They know exactly what is wanted, and will soon announce that the hard drives where that info was stored crashed.

    EPA is part of the obama junta; expect them to be as transparent, and to follow the law as much as does he.

  6. EW3 says:

    Most transparent administration, evah..

  7. Rud Istvan says:

    Its a long fight. This skirmish will play out rather like Congress versus IRS on the Lois Lerner affair. IRS ignored the law, no consequences. EPA ignored the law, no consequences. Ignore the law yourself, BIG consequences. Good that this is an election year. At least the legislative balance can be changed.

  8. People can be tempted to invoke the authority of science without abiding by the exacting standards of evidence, argument, and openness to alternative hypotheses on which that authority rests. Fraud is distressingly common, and more common still are shortcuts that seem to the enthusiasts to be just harmless ways of getting around nuisance impediments, but which really vitiate the whole inquiry.

    In my years of observation, I have come to the conclusion that these things have always been with us. We went astray when we built up the false myth of the man in a white coat dedicated to only the truth. The people in the “science game” are still human beings with all the faults of the race. It may be a bit worse now that government funding has tainted nearly all of science from grade school to university to government agencies and beyond: but fraud in science has always been with us.

  9. Alan Robertson says:

    We can root for the ITSSD efforts against the rogue EPA, as futile as they are likely to be against the usurped power of the Obama administration, but we won’t know just how close to the edge of the abyss our nation really stands until after January 3rd, 2015, when the new US Congress is sworn in and has the first real opportunity to put a stop to the madness.

  10. CC Squid says:

    Now The EPA Tells Congress: ‘Hard Drive Crash’ Files Not Found

  11. Robin says:

    This 2008 report on how to use Higher Education institutions around the globe to create chang agents for sustainability plays in nicely to what NAS notes. http://astepback.com/case%20studies/Higher%20Ed%20as%20Change%20Agent%20for%20Sust.pdf

    The Gramscian March Through the Institutions has meant that the governmental agencies have been thoroughly paraded through as well.

  12. JamesS says:

    cirby says:
    July 10, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Chellenges?

    I read that in my internal “Inspector Cleauseau” voice.

    [Corrected. .mod]

  13. Jerry Henson says:

    One of the pillors of EPA’s claims for methane and therefore CO2 is false. Document EPA 430-R-10-001 April 2010 claims that upland soils absorbs methane from the atmosphere at the rate of 30/TG year of CH4. This is not true. Methane rises once it is in the atmosphere.

  14. JamesS says:

    Corrected? Did I misspell “Cleauseau”?

  15. JamesS says:

    Ah! It should have been “CHIEF Inspector Cleauseau.”

  16. Leigh says:

    “from those not qualified to analyze it.”
    What the…
    I’ll put it up front now, I’m no scientist.
    So I’m not qualified to “analyze” their pronouncements that CO/2 is a pollutant.
    And yes I do understand that is not the only problem with your EPA.
    But it is a biggy.
    No, I’m not a scientist nor am I a mechanic but I am savy enough, after careful examination of the car I am about to buy.
    That with no engine it’s not a “going concern”.
    So being an uneducated dill from down under. I will watch with great interest as your EPA squirms on the hook that it has set into itself as it try’s to explain away their proclamation that CO/2 is a pollutant.
    I am absolutely certain that there will be many THOUSANDS that are qualified to analyze and explain to them it isn’t.
    And like the global warmists that seek to lie by concealment they at your EPA will be exposed as just another card.

  17. Reg Nelson says:

    Am I missing something?
    If this applies to all GHG’s, not just CO2, it means that water vapor is also a pollutant, and therefore must be regulated. Certain cities, states and countries will now be subject to a Cloud Tax and be forced to buy Blue Sky credits from sunnier regions. I’m looking at you Seattle. Pony up.

  18. NikFromNYC says:

    Did it end well for Nixon or Enron? No. It won’t end well for this last gasp climate campaigners either.

    July 6, 2006, a mere eight years ago: “Kenneth L. Lay, who catapulted Enron Corp. into the ranks of the nation’s largest companies only to be convicted of fraud after its collapse, died early yesterday after suffering what a family spokeswoman said was a heart attack at a rental property in Old Snowmass, Colo.

    Lay, 64, faced the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison after a Houston jury in May found him guilty of conspiring to inflate the energy company’s stock price and misleading investors and employees who lost billions of dollars in its 2001 bankruptcy. Friends said Lay, who looked grayer and thinner during his four-month trial but otherwise bore no outward signs of poor health, expected to be handcuffed and taken into custody immediately after his sentencing this fall.”

  19. “They know exactly what is wanted, and will soon announce that the hard drives where that info was stored crashed.” – Mark

    That will be a Pyrrhic victory. No documents means no policy. At best, the whole process will have to start again.

    I suppose that is a naive assumption. ;-)

  20. Andrew N says:

    The main issue with the EPA is that governments around the world increasingly rely on government by regulation. They create these ‘independent’ bodies such as the EPA and the FDA to regulate products and processes. Governments also like to make these bodies independent so as to make them appear to be above political interference. This independence is interesting, as under the constitution of the USA, Australia and many other democracies there are only three independent arms of government; the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary. Every other government body in these systems, be it the military, police forces, central banks, have no true independence.

    The problem then arises that governments are then loathed to reign in these bodies if they start overstepping their mandated authority. Opposition parties and interest groups are very quick the squeal ‘political interference’ when any attempt is made to do so. This has allowed these bodies to be infiltrated by public servants and special interest groups pushing their own political agendas.

    All too often governments finally find it easier to abolish these organisations than attempt reform.

  21. jmorpuss says:

    I hope the EPA enjoyed the 4th of July fireworks. How many tons of pollutants where exploded in the atmosphere ? Did the EPA dish out any fines?

  22. Bob says:

    Anthony, you may or may not realize that this will turn out to be your most important post. Please keep on it.

  23. Leigh says:

    In Australia I particularly like the body that ALL politicians refer to in defence of the public outcry when they are “granted” a pay rise.
    The independant remuneration tribunal.

  24. Latitude says:

    I’m getting sick and tired of this bastardization of peer review….
    …since when did peer review come to mean anything

  25. Glen Livingston says:

    Nah…..the next report from the EPA will be that Lois Learners dog ate the documents. It is to the point that the only conclusion possible is that the lawlessness is intentional as a way to destroy all trust in government and to rip the fabric of society and destroy the nation. He did say he was going to fundamentally transform America……maybe the only time he told the truth. Hope and change….hope and change.

    Go get em ITSSD!
    Make em squeal!

  26. philjourdan says:

    In a lawful administration, that would work. BUt I suspect more hard drives will fail and nothing will come of it.

  27. Louis says:

    Next, I expect the EPA to claim that they are so “transparent” the steps they took to comply with the law just aren’t visible.

  28. Alan Robertson says:

    The “Secret Science Reform Act” mentioned above, indicates that the House of Representatives (if not the Senate) recognizes that the EPA can not be given a free hand to act on a purely political agenda.
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hr4012ih/pdf/BILLS-113hr4012ih.pdf

  29. Tanya Aardman says:

    Society of Professional Journalists Open Letter to Obama:

    President Barack Obama
    The White House
    Washington, D.C
    July 8, 2014

    Mr. President,

    You recently expressed concern that frustration in the country is breeding cynicism about democratic government. You need look no further than your own administration for a major source of that frustration – politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies. We call on you to take a stand to stop the spin and let the sunshine in.

    Over the past two decades, public agencies have increasingly prohibited staff from communicating with journalists unless they go through public affairs offices or through political appointees. This trend has been especially pronounced in the federal government. We consider these restrictions a form of censorship — an attempt to control what the public is allowed to see and hear.

    The stifling of free expression is happening despite your pledge on your first day in office to bring “a new era of openness” to federal government – and the subsequent executive orders and directives which were supposed to bring such openness about.

    Recent research has indicated the problem is getting worse throughout the nation, particularly at the federal level. Journalists are reporting that most federal agencies prohibit their employees from communicating with the press unless the bosses have public relations staffers sitting in on the conversations. Contact is often blocked completely. When public affairs officers speak, even about routine public matters, they often do so confidentially in spite of having the title “spokesperson.” Reporters seeking interviews are expected to seek permission, often providing questions in advance. Delays can stretch for days, longer than most deadlines allow. Public affairs officers might send their own written responses of slick non-answers. Agencies hold on-background press conferences with unnamed officials, on a not-for-attribution basis.

    In many cases, this is clearly being done to control what information journalists – and the audience they serve – have access to. A survey found 40 percent of public affairs officers admitted they blocked certain reporters because they did not like what they wrote.

    Some argue that controlling media access is needed to ensure information going out is correct. But when journalists cannot interview agency staff, or can only do so under surveillance, it undermines public understanding of, and trust in, government. This is not a “press vs. government” issue. This is about fostering a strong democracy where people have the information they need to self-govern and trust in its governmental institutions.

    It has not always been this way. In prior years, reporters walked the halls of agencies and called staff people at will. Only in the past two administrations have media access controls been tightened at most agencies. Under this administration, even non-defense agencies have asserted in writing their power to prohibit contact with journalists without surveillance. Meanwhile, agency personnel are free speak to others — lobbyists, special-interest representatives, people with money — without these controls and without public oversight.

    Here are some recent examples:

    • The New York Times ran a story last December on the soon-to-be implemented ICD-10 medical coding system, a massive change for the health care system that will affect the whole public. But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), one of the federal agencies in charge of ICD-10, wouldn’t allow staff to talk to the reporter.

    • A reporter with Investigative Post, an online news organization in New York, asked three times without success over the span of six weeks to have someone at EPA answer questions about the agency’s actions regarding the city of Buffalo’s alleged mishandling of “universal waste” and hazardous waste.

    • A journalist with Reuters spent more than a month trying to get EPA’s public affairs office to approve him talking with an agency scientist about the effects of climate change. The public affairs officer did not respond to him after his initial request, nor did her supervisor, until the frustrated journalist went over their heads and contacted EPA’s chief of staff.

    The undersigned organizations ask that you seek an end to this restraint on communication in federal agencies. We ask that you issue a clear directive telling federal employees they’re not only free to answer questions from reporters and the public, but actually encouraged to do so. We believe that is one of the most important things you can do for the nation now, before the policies become even more entrenched.

    We also ask you provide an avenue through which any incidents of this suppression of communication may be reported and corrected. Create an ombudsman to monitor and enforce your stated goal of restoring transparency to government and giving the public the unvarnished truth about its workings. That will go a long way toward dispelling Americans’ frustration and cynicism before it further poisons our democracy.

    Further examples on the issue are provided as well as other resources.

    Sincerely,

    David Cuillier
    President
    Society of Professional Journalists
    spjdave@yahoo.com

    Beth Parke
    Executive Director
    Society of Environmental Journalists
    bparke@sej.org

    Kathryn Foxhall
    Member
    Society of Professional Journalists
    kfoxhall@verizon.net

    Holly Spangler
    President
    American Agricultural Editors’ Association

    Gil Gullickson
    Board Chair
    American Agricultural Editors’ Association Professional Improvement Foundation

    Alexandra Cantor Owens
    Executive Director
    American Society of Journalists and Authors

    Janet Svazas
    Executive Director
    American Society of Business Publication Editors

    David Boardman
    President
    American Society of News Editors

    Hoda Osman
    President
    Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association

    Kathy Chow
    Executive Director
    Asian American Journalists Association

    Diana Mitsu Klos
    Executive Director
    Associated Collegiate Press

    Paula Poindexter
    President
    Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication

    Miriam Pepper
    President
    Association of Opinion Journalists

    Lisa Graves
    Executive Director
    Center for Media and Democracy

    Rachele Kanigel
    President
    College Media Association

    Gay Porter DeNileon
    President
    Colorado Press Women

    Sue Udry
    Executive Director
    Defending Dissent Foundation

    Mark Newton
    President
    Journalism Education Association

    Mark Horvit
    Executive Director
    Investigative Reporters and Editors

    J.H. Snider
    President
    iSolon.org

    Phyllis J. Griekspoor
    President
    North American Agricultural Journalists

    Carol Pierce
    Executive Director
    National Federation of Press Women

    Robert M. Williams Jr.
    President
    National Newspaper Association

    Bob Meyers
    President
    National Press Foundation

    Charles Deale
    Executive Director
    National Press Photographers Association

    Diana Mitsu Klos
    Executive Director
    National Scholastic Press Association

    Mary Hudetz
    President
    Native American Journalists Association

    Jane McDonnell
    Executive Director
    Online News Association

    Patrice McDermott
    Executive Director
    OpenTheGovernment.org

    Tim Franklin
    President
    The Poynter Institute

    Danielle Brian
    Executive Director
    Project on Government Oversight

    Jeff Ruch
    Executive Director
    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

    George Bodarky
    President
    Public Radio News Directors Incorporated

    Mike Cavender
    Executive Director
    Radio Television Digital News Association

    Herb Jackson
    President
    Regional Reporters Association

    Christophe Deloire
    Secretary General
    Reporters without Borders

    Frank LoMonte
    Executive Director
    Student Press Law Center

    Roy S. Gutterman
    Director
    Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University

    David Steinberg
    President
    UNITY Journalists for Diversity

  30. Mazda E says:

    I predict more hard drive crashes are in order

  31. bw says:

    CO2 is not pollution. CO2 is the basic component of all life on earth via photosynthesis.
    For example, a tree is mostly wood, ie cellulose. Cellulose is made from many glucose units plugged together like a chain. You could also say a tree is made of polyglucose or plastic sugar.

    Glucose is made from CO2 and water in a plant cell exposed to sunlight.
    6CO2 + 6H2O produces one glucose (C6H12O6) with 6 oxygen molecules are disposed.
    By mass, 264 grams of CO2 plus 108 grams of water produce 180 grams of glucose and 192 grams of oxygen.
    A tree is mostly carbon dioxide, from the air. The roots are needed mostly for the water. Wood is more than pure cellulose, so some minerals from the ground are needed for other chemical components. When wood is burned, the reverse occurs. The solid ashes are oxides of the minerals.

    Anyone who says CO2 is pollution and should be removed from the atmosphere is also saying that all life on earth should stop.

  32. empiresentry says:

    I have the unfortunately experience of having served on four EPA science Advisory Board hearings and assisted in setting up two more. They were wired. For those not familiar with that term and government, the outcomes were guaranteed.
    The SBA is set up because often the material is highly complex and just collecting opinions from the general public is not enough to identify issues. So, instead of public hearings, EPA has a hearing to review the materials, findings and give their expert opinion.
    In every case, the material assigned to each person was hand picked based on that person’s position, not expertise.
    In every case, the board members were not allowed to speak out on anything other the narrow focus they were given. If another participant finds something wrong with my opinion, he/she is not allowed to say anything.
    The hearing questions given to each SBA member were hand selected, narrowly confined and the SBA expert is not allowed to veer off and talk about anything else.
    It was very easy to design these “scientific reviews” to manage the outcomes.

    I am very pleased that someone is calling EPA out on the ‘science’. The CAA is very clear: all actions must evaluate the cost, the cost to cure, the technical ability to implement a cure, the impact to business and economy …..AND be able to scientifically measure the outcomes.

    The science used for the determination must be updated and reviewed. Some undergrad in California who writes a paper that diesel particulates might be bad is not good enough.

    EPA is unable to do this and is in violation of the CAA.

  33. rogerknights says:

    If there is a court fight followed by a Do-Over order, the consumer won’t get hit in the pocketbook for another two years, deferring voter anger at Obama et al. But meantime Obama will get credit from his core supporters for what he’s trying to do.

    Could the EPA have screwed up on purpose in order to achieve this result?!?!

  34. empiresentry says:

    Thank you, Tanya Aardman.
    Looks like 97% of all journalists…sans MSN and Pravda.

  35. Tom J says:

    FYI: The EPA has announced it has the authority to garnish wages on its own without going through a court order. Thus, if the EPA has determined someone is in violation of a rule, that individual doesn’t have the legal recourse of a hearing before the EPA strips the fine out of their accounts. I’m a little hazy on the full details. It was announced this week. I believe the comment period before this goes through has been foreshortened. I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that in most contested cases the courts have ended up ruling against the EPA. If so the EPA seems determined to insure that defendants won’t have a dime with which to defend themselves. It appears the POTUS is determined to get his way and the EPA is one of his tools with which to do so.

  36. lee says:

    The dog ate my hard drive and is now constipated. I do not know if the data will eventually be retrievable.

  37. bernie1815 says:

    It is all Kafkaesque

  38. Alan Robertson says:

    Bravo, Ms. Aardman.
    Snowball’s chance.

  39. johanna says:

    CC Squid says:
    July 10, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Now The EPA Tells Congress: ‘Hard Drive Crash’ Files Not Found
    —————————————————
    Yep, just like Lois Lerner’s email records. And whatsername’s from the EPA’s. Oh, and in the UK over 100 files relating to reports of p*dophilia in the 1980s, following a report from an MP to the relevant Minister, have also mysteriously disappeared.

    Here in Australia, documents lodged with the corporate affairs regulator that might involve a former Prime Minister in fraud have – you guessed it – vanished.

    And nobody is held to account. Ever.

    But heaven help you if the Tax Office wants to see a receipt for $121.33 from four years ago and you can’t find it. The assumption is that you are breaking the law.

  40. Lil Fella from OZ says:

    These types, EPA, operate in a way they think they are above the law.

  41. ossqss says:

    This issue revolves around terminology and classification (GHG), along with associated actionable legal definitions of such.

    Change in this category takes time and due process.

  42. EPA claims it has the power to garnish wages without court approval

    The Environmental Protection Agency has quietly claimed that it has the authority to unilaterally garnish the wages of individuals who have been accused of violating its rules.

  43. Alan Robertson says:

    Tanya Aardman says:
    July 10, 2014 at 6:15 pm
    _______________________
    I already complimented you on bringing this missive to our attention. What took them so long?
    Not one of the journalist organizations signatory to this letter prodded their members to perform due diligence and properly vett candidate Obama, nor report what they found; not one.
    The nation now finds itself in perilous circumstance because the fifth estate acted more like the fifth column and still is acting that way, in large measure. Sow and REAP.

  44. Streetcred says:

    July 10, 2014 at 3:53 pm | JamesS says:

    Chellenges?

    July 10, 2014 at 2:45 pm | cirby says:

    I read that in my internal “Inspector Cleauseau” voice.

    ——

    Could be a New Zealand accent ? ;)

  45. Streetcred says:

    Steve Milloy can adds volumes to this …
    http://www.junkscience.com and reference the list under “JunkScience in Action” in the right column.

  46. asybot says:

    Am I missing something?
    If this applies to all GHG’s, not just CO2, it means that water vapor is also a pollutant, and therefore must be regulated. Certain cities, states and countries will now be subject to a Cloud Tax and be forced to buy Blue Sky credits from sunnier regions. I’m looking at you Seattle. Pony up.

  47. asybot says:

    Sorry that was Reg Nelson, my question to him is, Reg give me a call Gore got away with it and hey if we only make 10% we’d be well you know RICH!!

  48. Dr. Paul Mackey says:

    Unfortunately the scientific fact there has been no global warming for almost 18 years does not seem to be trumping the climate science scaremongering

  49. policycritic says:

    Tanya Aardman says:
    July 10, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    w.o.w. Thank you for posting that. If ever there were an indication that the tide is turning, it’s that letter.

  50. Crustacean says:

    I’m sorry, but what the Supreme Court rebuked in its June 23 decision was not the EPA’s “retroactive classification of GHG” but its unilateral [read: illegal] rewrite of the Clean Air Act standards for the quantity of emissions triggering regulatory action, dubbed the “Tailoring Rule” by EPA. Nothing the Court did in that decision [Utility Air Regulatory Group v EPA] will interfere with the EPA regulating GHG emissions. I am perfectly willing–indeed eager–to accept proof that the agency has fudged, manipulated, maybe even faked data to support its destructive political agenda, but I would be unemployed if I allowed myself to commit errors of the sort I’m citing here. Caveat emptor.

  51. AP says:

    Leigh, you may have noticed, like I did that the “independent” remuneration tribunal complied with Tony Abbott’s request for inflation-only pay rise in 2014. So much for their independence.

  52. AP says:

    What’s with these comments about hard drive crashes? Doesn’t your government know the basics of IT systems and offsite backups?

  53. AP says:

    And who keeps any documents on hard drives these days anyhow?

  54. richard verney says:

    Reg Nelson says:
    July 10, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Am I missing something?
    If this applies to all GHG’s, not just CO2, it means that water vapor is also a pollutant, and therefore must be regulated. Certain cities, states and countries will now be subject to a Cloud Tax and be forced to buy Blue Sky credits from sunnier regions. I’m looking at you Seattle. Pony up.
    //////////////////

    How about the fire department?
    Using water to put out fires cause a lot of water vapour.
    Perhaps they will strat raiding people’s homes. All that nasty GHG water vapour released when one boils the kettle, takes a hot bath or shower etc.

  55. JohnWho says:

    Tanya Aardman says:

    July 10, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Society of Professional Journalists Open Letter to Obama:

    While I applaud the ideas discussed in the letter, I would like to point out that you “professional journalists” all too often simply accept what you are given. The examples abound in the “global warming/climate change” arena.

    In my opinion, if professional journalists were more diligent and investigative regarding global warming/climate change, it would be a non-issue. You feed the disinformation frenzy when you should be exposing it for what it is – a “Clipocalypse” based on the four horseman of Lies, Deception, Falsification, and Half-Truths.

  56. buckwheaton says:

    “Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules,” Alinsky

  57. buckwheaton says:

    Climate change is very real. For example, the average climate of the northern hemisphere is to be under a thousand feet of ice. The cycle of glacier on/glacier off takes place every several hundred thousand years and can be clearly seen in many ways. Even as the science is settled that glaciation has taken place, the causes are still undergoing vigorous debate.

    With respect to the idea that humans are causing harmful changes to the climate at this very moment, I am waiting for some peer-reviewed papers that postulate what the optimum climate is for our biosphere. The first question that would naturally flow would be where is our current climate and trend in relation to this finding.

    That nobody seems interested in this vital comparison indicates that there climate is being studied for other purposes. Since all the urgent demands that flow from today’s climate science all converge on policy solutions that involve statism, bigger government, higher taxes, less personal liberty, the bigger picture tells me all that I need to know about “climate science”.

  58. philjourdan says:

    @AP – they did before this administration.

  59. Bruce Cobb says:

    @AP
    Sometimes the dog eats the homework, and sometimes not.
    It depends on the homework.

  60. StanleySteamer says:

    If everyone at the EPA and anyone else, for that matter, are so concerned about CO2, then I say: “Stop exhaling, and do your part to prevent its release.”

  61. more soylent green! says:

    How can anything the EPA does be considered a legitimate national secret?

    Our government bureaucrats, particularly under this administration, consider themselves and their agencies to be not only above the law, but above public scrutiny.

    Who is the master and who is the servant?

  62. Ian W says:

    AP says:
    July 11, 2014 at 5:49 am

    What’s with these comments about hard drive crashes? Doesn’t your government know the basics of IT systems and offsite backups?

    Of course they do.
    They are hoping that the low information voter does not and that the tame media will not ask questions.

  63. Alan Robertson says:

    buckwheaton says:
    July 11, 2014 at 6:56 am

    “Since all the urgent demands that flow from today’s climate science all converge on policy solutions that involve statism, bigger government, higher taxes, less personal liberty, the bigger picture tells me all that I need to know about “climate science”.”
    _____________________
    Agreed. The constant political drumbeat, universal bashing of skeptics, logically fallacious arguments and suppression of opposing viewpoints and research set me on the path of discovering for myself the truths about climate change. I knew nothing of climate science, but knew that what I was seeing was a long way from what science should be.

  64. u.k.(us) says:

    When I was a practicing Illinois Professional Land Surveyor, the State would make me attend a seminar on ethics (every two years, mandatory).
    Whether any were instilled I couldn’t say, never thought I needed any more ?
    Rant/

  65. Michael C. Roberts says:

    I have posted at least twice over the past 6 months or so, a link to the original EPA endangerment finding, as it is the lynchpin for all that we see now eminating from that organization. In those posts, I urged readers to review nad find that the EPA relied on the researchs of other parties – namely the IPCC – for thier version of the “science” supporting CAGW. Not research conducting by them or funded by them. A point to remember as the story unfolds..

  66. Tanya Aardman says:

    StanleySteamer says:

    July 11, 2014 at 8:18 am

    If everyone at the EPA and anyone else, for that matter, are so concerned about CO2, then I say: “Stop exhaling, and do your part to prevent its release.”
    _______________________________________

    This is 100% true….. If you go to the Skeptical Science website and ask how much C02 humans exhale they will answer NONE !!! – yep , check for yourself, we supposedly don’t convert oxygen to C02 according to Cook et al and his team of crack scientists

  67. Matthew R Marler says:

    Under the law, what “Burden of Proof” is imposed on the EPA to justify its ruling that CO2 meets some standard of danger? Does anybody here know? Can they meet that burden of proof by keeping all their documents secret, except those they wish to publish? How about a “Burden of Proof” for keeping anything secret in the first place? When someone requests unreleased documents under FOIA, how much of a burden does the govt face in deciding to keep secrets, and how much of a burden does the requester face to force divulging the documents? Does anyone here know the answer to that?

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