Defending Scott Pruitt – Making science reproducible

By Andy May

The EPA secretary, Scott Pruitt, testified before the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday April 26, 2018. He had been charged with spending too much money on travel, security and a secure phone booth for his office. Certainly, a reason to reprimand him, but I’m not sure a full day of Congressional hearings were warranted. Besides Scott Pruitt has spent far less on travel than either of his immediate predecessors at the EPA. Scott Pruitt said the following at the hearing:

“I promise you that I more than anyone want to establish the hard facts and provide answers to questions surrounding these reports. Let me be very clear, I have nothing to hide as it relates to how I have run the agency for the past 16 months. I’m not afraid to admit that there has been a learning process. When Congress or independent bodies find fault in our decision-making, I want to correct that and ensure that it does not happen again. Ultimately, as administrator of the EPA, the responsibility for making necessary changes rests with me and no one else.

With that being said, facts are facts and fiction is fiction. And a lie doesn’t become truth just because it appears on the front page of a newspaper. Much of what has been targeted toward me and my team has been half-truths or at best stories so twisted they do not represent reality.”

The hearings were more likely due to Pruitt’s efforts to rein in the EPA’s recent efforts to limit private property rights for the “greater good.” When a government official begins talking about the “greater good” grab your wallet and hide your children because they are about to steal something from someone or do something far worse. Representative David B. McKinley, Republican of West Virginia, told Mr. Pruitt during the hearing that the attacks on him “have an echo of McCarthyism.” That is using his, possibly misguided but trivial infractions, as a club to extort a change in his policies. Rules, regulations and laws can be used for nefarious ends.

We see in the March 16, 2018 Scientific American that Scott “Pruitt Expected to Limit Science Used to Make EPA Pollution Rules.” OMG, those darned knuckle-dragging, anti-science Republicans are at it again! Denying science and polluting the environment. What horrors are they contemplating now?

A little farther in we read this:

“[Pruitt’s] initiative is expected to require EPA—when issuing rules—to rely only on scientific studies where the underlying data are made public. It’s an idea that House Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has been championing for years. He and others argue that EPA has been crafting regulations based on “secret science” to advance its regulatory agenda.” (Waldman and Bravender 2018)

Lamar Smith’s “HONEST” act “requires that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations be based upon science that is publicly available” according to the House committee of Science, Space and Technology here. The acronym HONEST stands for “Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment.” Under the act (which has passed the House, but not the Senate), if the EPA is going to restrict someone’s private property rights for the “greater good” they must release all the data and analysis used to justify the regulations. Just as, in court before a person is sent to jail or fined, they can examine all the evidence against them. Lamar Smith and Scott Pruitt simply want people to see the data and evidence used to create the regulations that restrict their private property rights. They are not “limiting the science used,” they are just insisting on full public disclosure of the data and analysis. How is this unreasonable? This is discussed more fully in a recent post by Paul Driessen here.

The U.S. Constitution contains many protections for private property. Article I, section 8 secures intellectual property. Sections 9 and 10 prohibit states and the federal government from passing ex post facto laws that change existing contracts. The fifth amendment prohibits the taking of property by the government without just compensation. The second amendment prohibits confiscation of arms, the third prohibits forced quartering of troops in private homes, and the fourth and fourteenth forbid unreasonable searches and seizures of private property. These protections of private property rights were all in response to common actions by the British prior to U.S. independence.

The EPA has skirted the edge of these Constitutional prohibitions many times, have they gone over the edge? The EPA writes regulations on its own, under the President’s authority, without other oversight. The regulations have to be rooted in a Congressional statute, but the statutes are only interpreted by the EPA. This has allowed regulatory excesses like the CO2 “endangerment” finding.  This gives the agency great power. There are many modern ways to restrict private property rights. These include building codes, rent controls, zoning, usury laws, price controls, blue laws, gun controls, etc. Environmental regulations can be the most egregious. The restrictions and regulations can be so burdensome that the land is rendered useless and effectively taken away. This was at the root of complaints against the Waters of the U.S. Act and other environmental and land-use regulations. The following is from a House of Representatives transportation and infrastructure committee report on the EPA attempt to expand the Waters of the U.S. act under the Obama administration (see here for the full report):

“… granting sweeping new federal jurisdiction to waters never intended for regulation under the Clean Water Act, including ditches, man-made ponds, floodplains, riparian areas, and seasonally-wet areas.

This expansion of federal regulatory power also could have serious consequences for the Nation’s economy, threaten jobs, invite costly litigation, and significantly restrict the ability of landowners to make decisions about their property and the rights of state and local governments to plan for their own development.

These actions are yet another example of a disturbing pattern of an imperial presidency that seeks to use brute force and executive action while ignoring Congress.

Regulation must be balanced in a manner that responsibly protects the environment and recognizes the rights of states and individuals, without an unnecessary and costly expansion of the federal government and unreasonable and burdensome regulations on our small businesses, farmers, and families.”

The EPA is charged with protecting the environment in the United States. Their mandate is to use regulations and restrictions on the use of private property so that one property owner does not endanger the water, land or air for all the people around them. This is reasonable, if the actions of the property owner are truly causing dangerous pollution. But, there is a danger of abuse of this power. Private property rights are as fundamental to our freedom as free speech and a free press. Thus, if the EPA takes away a person’s rights, they have a duty to explain why and present all the evidence to the public. Further, every regulation has a cost and these costs diminish our standard of living and can take away jobs. Every regulation needs a justification.

There are many measures of freedom, but one is certainly the strength of a countries’ private property rights. Or, put another way, how easy is it for the state to take away private property or render it unusable by the owner? This can be thought of as the inverse of how socialistic a country is, since the lack of private property defines socialism according to Merriam-Webster (this is part of their definition, for the full definition see here):

“Socialism: Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods. A system of society or group living in which there is no private property.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Property rights are tabulated for countries around the world by the Heritage Foundation and the rankings are listed here. Another source is the International Property Rights Index here. Out of 183 countries, Venezuela is listed last, which isn’t surprising. Singapore has the strongest property rights, followed by New Zealand, Hong Kong, the UK, Finland and Japan in the Heritage Foundation list. New Zealand is listed first by the International Property Rights Index. The United States is ranked 24th by the Heritage Foundation and 14th by the International Property Rights Index. It is interesting that the “Democratic Socialist” countries of Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway all have stronger private property rights than the United States. That is, they are less socialistic.

The Scientific American complaints

The critics of Lamar Smith and Scott Pruitt see the ban on using secret data to issue regulations as an effort to hinder the EPA from issuing rules. According to Yogin Kothari of the Union of Concerned Scientists in the Scientific American article cited above:

“A lot of the data that EPA uses to protect public health and ensure that we have clean air and clean water relies on data that cannot be publicly released,” said Yogin Kothari with the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Many scientific studies rely on data that can’t be made public for reasons like patient privacy concerns or industry confidentiality.

“If EPA doesn’t have data to move forward with a public protection for a safeguard, it doesn’t have to do that at all,” said Kothari. “It really hamstrings the ability of the EPA to do anything, to fulfill its mission.”

Publishing raw data also opens scientists up to attacks from industry, which can twist or distort data to shape a deregulatory agenda, said Betsy Southerland, a former senior EPA official in the Office of Water who worked on a staff analysis of the “HONEST Act.” (Waldman and Bravender 2018)

These arguments all sound very weak and boil down to “trust the EPA, they would never do anything wrong.” We can all understand that patient names cannot be released, but anonymous patient data is released all the time by the CDC and this is all Scott Pruitt is suggesting. The industries affected by EPA regulations should be allowed to examine the data and draw and report their own conclusions. If the EPA can slant or spin (“twist and distort”) the data to make their case, the industries affected should certainly be given the same rights, argument is a founding principle of the United States. No one should assume the EPA is always right and the businesses they regulate always wrong, honest and open debate is needed here. Businesses (or “industry” if you prefer) make all the money we have, all the money the EPA has, and all the money the government has. Every regulation has a cost. That cost reduces everyone’s income. Rules and regulations matter and should not be made willy-nilly or at an unelected bureaucrat’s whim. They should only be implemented when fully justified to the businesses being regulated and the public at large.

The article continues with this complaint:

[Betsy Southerland, an ex-EPA employee] “said there are numerous examples of groundbreaking studies that are not replicable, such as human health studies after the dropping of atomic bombs in Hiroshima or the ecological effects of the BP PLC Gulf of Mexico oil spill. In many of the older studies, there are a plethora of people, including some who are dead, who could no longer be tracked down.

“This is just done to paralyze rulemaking,” she said. “It’s another obstacle that would make it so hard and so difficult to go forward with rulemaking that in the end, the only thing that would happen—in the best case you would greatly delay rulemaking; in the worst case you would just prevent it. It would be such an obstacle you couldn’t overcome it.” (Waldman and Bravender 2018)

Pruitt’s new regulations do not have to require recovery of the data from past studies. Although I suspect that a diligent search for the data from the Hiroshima studies would uncover most of it. As for the BP oil spill, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute reports that natural oil seeps on the ocean floor supply as much as half of the crude oil found in the ocean (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution 2018). Studying the area around these seeps can provide data on the long-term effects of crude oil and natural gas on the environment. As for the short-term effects of the BP spill, I doubt any of that data has been lost, given the court cases. In any case, rulemaking that restricts private property rights, should be difficult. After all, private property rights are one of our most cherished Constitutional rights and the cost of the rules is very large.

One of the most amusing and shocking complaints was this one:

“Requiring data transparency would cost hundreds of millions of dollars because it would require EPA staff to track down data from study authors and create an online management system to store and present those data, the analysis found. In addition, EPA staff would have to spend time redacting personally identifiable information in the studies, and study authors would likely require payments for preparing and sending their data.” (Waldman and Bravender 2018)

Are they really saying that they do not have a repository for the data from scientific studies used to make the regulations? Are they saying they have not reviewed the data from studies that they used to restrict citizen’s rights and possibly endanger their businesses? Did they just read the studies, accept the results without any further research and write the regulations? Are they really that cavalier about it? It would seem so. One of the best things about Trump becoming President is that we now have a much fuller picture of government incompetence and malfeasance.

Conclusions

Probably most people agree that there should be some restrictions on private property rights to protect the environment we live in. I suspect that most people also agree that private property rights should not be taken away from anyone unless the EPA makes a sound scientific case for doing so. It appears the law is silent on the subject, which is an oversight that should be corrected. The HONEST act appears to be a good start. A nameless, faceless bureaucrat should not be allowed to arbitrarily say that a land owner must stop what he is doing on his land without providing justification. If that justification is based upon a research project, the data and analysis used to justify the regulation must be made public before taking away the land owner’s rights.

It is the land owner’s right, as well as the right of any business, corporation or group to review the data and analysis and try to replicate the result. We live in an age when many scientific studies cannot be replicated and when scientific research contains considerable political bias. The only way to be sure that a studies results are valid is to independently duplicate the project. No less an authority than the journal Nature, probably the premier scientific journal in the world, has made this point:

“An inherent principle of publication is that others should be able to replicate and build upon the authors’ published claims. A condition of publication in a Nature Research journal is that authors are required to make materials, data, code, and associated protocols promptly available to readers without undue qualifications. Any restrictions on the availability of materials or information must be disclosed to the editors at the time of submission. Any restrictions must also be disclosed in the submitted manuscript.

After publication, readers who encounter refusal by the authors to comply with these policies should contact the chief editor of the journal. In cases where editors are unable to resolve a complaint, the journal may refer the matter to the authors’ funding institution and/or publish a formal statement of correction, attached online to the publication, stating that readers have been unable to obtain necessary materials to replicate the findings.” (Nature.com 2018)

Link.

The bold emphasis is in the original. Some readers will remember the difficulty McIntyre and McKitrick had in getting the data used for Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” (Mann, Bradley and Hughes 1998). Once they received the data from Michael Mann and published their analysis of it in Energy & Environment (McIntyre and McKitrick 2003), the Nature editors ordered Mann, et al. to publish a correction and restatement of their paper (McKitrick 2018). The EPA should adopt a similar policy in the opinion of this author. The Royal Society’s motto is nullius in verba which means take nobody’s word for it. This is certainly applicable to any scientific study used to take someone’s private property rights.

In a famous peer-reviewed study published in Science (Open Science Collaboration 2015) it was found that only a third to a half of the papers published in 2008 in the top three psychology journals could be replicated. If this is true of the scientific work done at the EPA then half or more of their regulations, that have a real economic impact on land owners and businesses in the United States, may not be based on sound science. But, we cannot know if this is true, since the data and the studies are kept secret. It is interesting that the Science paper’s opening words are:

“Reproducibility is a defining feature of science, but the extent to which it characterizes current research is unknown. Scientific claims should not gain credence because of the status or authority of their originator but by the replicability of their supporting evidence.” Link.

This is a good way of putting it. Reproducibility is not part of the definition of science, but it certainly is a “defining feature” of science. No matter how brilliant the scientific work might be, if it can’t be replicated by someone else, it’s useless and of little value. Thus, for the scientific work to matter and have value, the “materials, data, code, and associated protocols [must] promptly [be made] available to [the public] without undue qualifications.”

If Scientific American, EPA bureaucrats and the Washington DC swamp want to take issue with Science and Nature on the necessity of reproducibility in science, have at it, but they will lose. The very idea of “secret science” is an oxymoron in our opinion as well as being very unfair to land owners, farmers, ranchers and business owners.

Andy May has just published his first book: “Climate Catastrophe! Science or Science Fiction?” It is available from Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

Works Cited

Mann, Michael E., Raymond S. Bradley, and Malcolm K. Hughes. 1998. “Global-scale temperature patterns and climate forcing over the past six centuries.” Nature 392: 779-787. https://www.nature.com/articles/33859.

McIntyre, Stephen, and Ross McKitrick. 2003. “Corrections to the Mann et. al. (1998) Proxy Data Base and Northern Hemispheric Average Temperature Series.” Energy & Environment 14 (6). http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1260/095830503322793632.

McIntyre, Stephen, and Ross McKitrick. 2005. “Hockey sticks, principal components, and spurious significance.” GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS 32. http://www.climateaudit.info/pdf/mcintyre.mckitrick.2005.grl.pdf.

McKitrick, Ross. 2018. “Statement of Ross McKitrick.” https://www.rossmckitrick.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/nyc_lawsuit0.pdf.

Nature.com. 2018. “Availability of data, material and methods.” Nature. https://www.nature.com/authors/policies/availability.html.

Open Science Collaboration. 2015. “Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science.” Science 349 (6251). http://science.sciencemag.org/content/349/6251/aac4716.

Waldman, Scott, and Robin Bravender. 2018. “Pruitt Expected to Limit Science Used to Make EPA Pollution Rules.” Scientific American, March 16. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/pruitt-expected-to-limit-science-used-to-make-epa-pollution-rules/.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. 2018. Oil in the Ocean. http://www.whoi.edu/oil/natural-oil-seeps.

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dodgy geezer

..Publishing raw data also opens scientists up to attacks from industry, which can twist or distort data to shape a deregulatory agenda,….
NOT publishing data opens citizens up to attack from activist scientists who can make up data to enforce an opressive green agenda….
There. Fixed that for you….

Tom in Florida

I am sure that just about all regular commenters here had the same thought.

MarkW

I can think of a few regular commenters here who will complain about any action the impedes the governments ability to reshape society to be more in line with their ideals.

Komrade Kuma

I am sure that all those left leaning Congress people and their staffers etc with a background in the law would be quite aware that actually presenting evidence is one of the foundations of a rational society, what with the Enlightenment and all that… but wot the heck, its only a few deniers and their acolytes that will suffer…

paul courtney

MarkW: Yeah, for our friend Rob, Kristi, Zazy, they would not have “the same thought” unless they were feeling quite irregular.

MarkW

Can’t forget Chris and ivanskinsman. (No matter how hard we may try.)

Wrusssr

+ 1,000 Andy May. Dead-on.
Using the King’s Star Chamber to Smackdown Private Property Rights
https://canadafreepress.com/article/using-the-kings-star-chamber-to-smackdown-private-property-rights

Paid by the public purse to have Divine Right of Kings.

R Shearer

Is it better that the EPA forces you to buy more expensive fuels, which may provide no environmental benefit, and which may damage the equipment you use them in?
Add it all up and we pay more to inflict more environmental damage.

R Shearer wrote on April 30, 2018 at 7:52 am
“Add it all up and we pay more to inflict more environmental damage.”
Absolutely correct!
Excerpted from the post below:
“These people are not pro-environment – many of their programs such as clear-cutting of tropical rainforests to grow biofuels, draining the Ogallala aquifer to grow corn for fuel ethanol, clear-cutting eastern US forests to provide wood pellets for British power plants, erecting huge wind power towers to slice up birds and bats, etc are ALL anti-environmental.”
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/04/22/earth-day-should-celebrate-engines-and-electricity/comment-page-1/#comment-2797595
[excerpt]
Cheap, abundant, reliable energy is the lifeblood of society – it IS that simple.
Most politicians are too uneducated to even opine on energy, let alone set energy policy.
Witness the energy idiocy of recent politicians in Western Europe, Britain, Canada, the USA, and Australia. These imbeciles have squandered tens of trillions of dollars of scarce global resources on costly, intermittent green energy schemes that are not green and produce little useful (dispatchable) energy, all to save use from imaginary catastrophic global warming – all in a (probably) cooling world.
Fully 85% of global primary energy is still generated from fossil fuels – oil, natural gas and coal. The remainder is largely generated from nuclear and hydro. Hardly any useful energy is generated from green sources, despite tens of trillions in wasted subsidies – enough money to buy too many corrupt politicians, civil servants and academics.
Anti fossil fuels, anti pipelines, anti fracking, anti oilsands, pro green energy, etc. etc. – these scams are all promoted by the same people, all deliberately harming our economies while wrapping themselves in the cloak of phony environmentalism.
These people are not pro-environment – many of their programs such as clear-cutting of tropical rainforests to grow biofuels, draining the Ogallala aquifer to grow corn for fuel ethanol, clear-cutting eastern US forests to provide wood pellets for British power plants, erecting huge wind power towers to slice up birds and bats, etc are ALL anti-environmental.

Keith J

Not only are the fuels more expensive, they offer no benefit to the environment. Oxygenation of fuels only shows cold cycle emission reduction from engines using carburetors and breaker point ignition.
Ethanol in fuel causes acetaldehyde emissions which cannot be reduced with current catalytic exhaust treatment. It IS a problem.

R. Shearer

Today is the deadline for commenting to EPA on use of isobutanol in gasoline.
https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2018-0131-0001

joe - the non climate scientist

My primary reason for doubting the science of AGW stems from studies showing an increase in premature deaths from increases in ground level ozone.
One of the major studies in this field is the “Ozone and Short-term Mortality in 95 US Urban Communities, 1987-2000”
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1440776/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3546819/
This study and most others suffer from
1) lack of controls environment
2) Biases in recording data
3) other factors with much higher correlations than increases in ozone, yet those factors being ignored.
4) increases in ozone having negative correlations in relation to other factors.
These studies actually had greater transparency than the EPA’s particlate matter studies.

joe – the non climate scientist,
I hear you brother, my primary reason for doubting the science of AGW is that those geeks have no sense of humor. none, not even really bad unfunny sense like myself. They have NONE.

RAH

The epiphany that something was wrong came for me when I started seeing the claims that “97% of scientists agreed on….”. Anyone that’s been around for awhile knows that to get 97% of any significant segment to agree on anything so complex as climate science is a virtual impossibility.

Everything can be reproduced in computer models, in fact, we may be living in one.

OK, OK, that was just stupid. Do not get upset guys am I sorry.

David A Smith

You should have hit “save game” just before your first post.

MarkW

That wasn’t stupid. Maybe a tad awkward. But that’s it
Any Matrix reference is always enjoyed.

Models all the way down makes more sense to me than turtles all the way down.
Of course, it might just be this…comment image?w=525

Grant

Trust in government employees to do what’s in the public’a interest is no better than trusting a business. They both make decisions to guarantee their existence. Witness the idiocy of the Bay Area Air Quality Management and their rules on diesel emissions, underground fuel tanks and of course their infamous decision to put MTBE into gasoline.

Tom in Florida

““This is just done to paralyze rulemaking,” she said. “It’s another obstacle that would make it so hard and so difficult to go forward with rulemaking that in the end, the only thing that would happen—in the best case you would greatly delay rulemaking; in the worst case you would just prevent it. It would be such an obstacle you couldn’t overcome it”
Exactly the point.

texasjimbrock

+100

drednicolson

Replace every instance of “rulemaking” in that statement with “the pushing of our political agenda through regulatory fiat”.

Ben of Houston

You do realize that if rulemaking becomes too difficult, the EPA regional agencies will just enforce it via the primary responsibility and 114 requests.
They are doing that now with flares, demanding universal compliance with the refinery flare rule on all facilities, even though it explicitly only applies to refineries.

Phil Rae

Great article, Andy! Succinct and informative! top marks!

kaliforniakook

Second that. Fun to read!

Tom Halla

The green blob has used dubious science from the beginning of the movement. “Silent Spring” was influential, and mostly wrong. The current proposed rules on particulates or mercury are based on studies that are not very rigorous, to put it politely.
What they really want to defend, though, is the so-called Endangerment Finding that CO2 is a risk. The foundations of that finding are computer models and equally cooked Social Cost of Carbon estimates. Mostly the science is just like the DDT finding, which was politics all the way down.

Too true Tom – thank you.
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/02/16/draft-un-climate-report-poor-people-will-be-hit-worst/comment-page-1/#comment-2746222
Below is a graph that quantifies the number of DEATHS EACH YEAR FROM MALARIA – between one and two million.
Note how malaria deaths increased steadily since 1980 (or earlier), after the banning of DDT in 1972, and how malaria deaths declined after DDT was re-introduced.
See the red area of the graph – that is CHILDREN UNDER 5 YEARS OF AGE – FOUR AND UNDER – JUST BABIES FOR CHRIST’S SAKE! Yes I am upset. This holocaust was preventable, and easily so.
I want to personally recognize the radical environmental movement for the key role it played in the banning of DDT and the resulting deaths of millions of people from malaria, especially children under five years of age. After this holocaust became fully apparent, many enviros continued to oppose DDT, based on flimsy evidence and unsupported allegations.
DDT was only re-introduced circa year 2002. Malaria deaths declined after that. The battle against malaria continues.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1566107003466856&set=a.1012901982120697.1073741826.100002027142240&type=3&theater

MALARIA AND THE DDT STORY
The Institute of Economic Affairs, London, 2000
SUMMARY
• Malaria imposes colossal costs on mankind, in terms of lives
lost, ill health and impaired economic development. Over 1
million people, mostly children, die from the disease each
year and over 300 million fall sick.
• Malaria is primarily a developing country disease, but it was
not always so. Much of Europe and North America were
malarial up to the early 1950s, but spraying the pesticide DDT
eradicated the disease from these areas.
• Vector control (killing the anopheles mosquito) using DDT
was pursued as a one-weapon policy after World War II in
most malarial areas. While DDT was remarkably successful in
many areas, it was not always appropriate.
• Despite a lack of scientific evidence, DDT was banned in
many countries in the early 1970s following concerns about
its environmental and human health impacts. However, the
negative impacts from DDT use in agriculture, which led to
the concerns, are vastly different from the impacts of DDT
used in health control.
• The environmental impacts of DDT use in disease control are
negligible and indeed its use could be beneficial to the
environment. In addition, no scientific peer-reviewed study
has ever replicated any case of negative human health impacts
from DDT. Nevertheless, environmental pressure groups and
donor agencies disapprove of the use of DDT and actively
campaign for its withdrawal.

• Although malaria is a developing country problem, much of
the malaria control policy is formulated by developed country
agencies. As a result, developing countries are frequently
required to follow malaria control programmes that are not
necessarily ideal or even applicable to local circumstances.
• Following a more politically correct and purportedly
environmentally friendly policy, many health agencies, donor
agencies and governments withdrew their support for DDT,
and pesticide use in general, in disease control. The higher
costs of the alternatives and the development of mosquito
resistance to many alternatives increase the importance of
DDT use.
• Many countries have been encouraged to control malaria
with drug programmes and bed nets alone, repeating the
mistakes of following one-track control programmes of the
past.
• In December 2000, country delegates to the UNEP Persistent
Organic Pollutants (POPs) Convention Negotiating
Conference showed their support for the use of DDT in
disease control, by granting exemption and allowing
continued use of the chemical.
***************************************

R. Shearer
HotScot

Thank you Andy.
A clear description of what’s going on at the EPA, even for a layman.
And whilst I’m a Brit and not subject to EPA regulations, the message here should be echoing through the halls of politics and academia around the world.
This must all be gaining Trump popularity at home, getting the N. Koreans out from behind their bunker is another, and teasing Macron is surely up there, not to mention pulling out the Paris accord.
If he’s not careful, he might find his second term a foregone conclusion, and a bit of a landslide.
And in the spirit of disclosure, I was in despair that Trump seemed only the least worst candidate for this Presidency. I’m delighted to have been proven entirely wrong, he’s rapidly proving himself as more than capable of the job.

Ben of Houston

His performance seems to be decent. He seems to have given so much of a circus in the front of the office that his real actions have gone essentially unnoticed. As every media site has such bias one way or the other, and many people who despise his persona will hold their nose to vote for at least some of his agenda. I have no clue whether or not he has majority approval.

HotScot

Ben
that’s a fair observation. Who knows really, the polls got it wrong with both Trump and Brexit. But what can one say when a man as unpopular as Trump actually exhibits what the man on the street is thinking.
No one knows what politicians are up to, really. We can only judge on their current actions, speculation is futile.
What I see is that Trump has used Twitter mercilessly to the advantage of America. Whilst some condemn him for drunken tweeting (I understand the guy doesn’t drink) some for clumsy gaffes, and some for treasonous beliefs, I don’t believe the guy tweets a single character without expert advice.
This is the future of politics and Trump has grasped it with both hands leaving all the technophobic politicians (in other words, all politicians) in his wake.
The guy perhaps isn’t clever (I dispute that) but he’s courageous, and that matters more than anything in a global combative impasse.
Ask Churchill.

HotScot

Ben
And yes, I’m prepared to balance his account with Churchill’s. Both courageous men, one in a global physical battle, the other in a global financial battle.
I can only think of one politician with the same courage as Churchill and Trump and that’s Enoch Powell. He who made the rivers of blood speech, which is manifesting itself daily with terrorist attacks across the globe. But dare anyone speak his name?
The left still vilify’s the man for merely pointing out that uncontrolled migration will cause problems. His speech was expressed in now, unacceptable terms, but it made a point. We are a tribal world, and now every tribe has an insurgent tribe in their midst.
Was that a wrong prediction?
And Twitter wasn’t even dreamed of when he delivered his speech.

Jeff Alberts

“The left still vilify’s the man for merely pointing out that uncontrolled migration will cause problems.”
I don’t really care for Trump as a human being. I do agree with most of his policies.
But the reason I quoted HotScot above is because of the hypocrisy of the left in this case. Trump’s immigration plan is pretty much exactly the same as that proposed by Bill Clinton in his 1995 State of the Union address. But, because Trump proposed it, it’s baaaad.

John Garrett

Thank you Andy May for this defense of Scott Pruitt.
The bias, sophistry and casuistry employed by NPR in their reporting this story and of Lamar Smith’s “HONEST” Act bears a close resemblance to that employed by history’s greatest propagandists.

texasjimbrock

I will take your word for it. I never listen to NPR. Time for us to defund it.

John Garrett

It’s a Hobson’s Choice.
I’m not interested in having used car salespeople yelling at me and insulting my intelligence if I listen to commercial radio news. The flip side of the coin is having the clueless propagandists of NPR constantly whinging whilst promoting their climate (and other) agendas.

MarkW

My choice is Pandora.

chadb

Interesting. Does this mean that all current rules that are in direct conflict with the upcoming law would be invalidated? That is, if there is not concrete evidence with publically available data that mercury and lead harm neurological development would companies be allowed to dump that into water streams until the evidence is publically available?
Would DDT become widely available again?

John Endicott

Don’t get your hopes/fears up just yet. Existing regulations would not automatically disappear ex post facto. Though I do hope that Mr Pruitt would use the new regulation as a reason to re-examine some previous regulations, such as the endangerment finding for CO2.

Thomas Homer

Theory of Gravity vs Theory of Greenhouse Gasses
With the Theory of Gravity, we have yet to define how it works, yet we have been able to measure how it behaves with spectacular precision. Enough so that we knew the planet Neptune existed before it was ever seen. We have derived a set of Laws and formulae for the Theory of Gravity.
With the Theory of Greenhouse Gasses, we are told how it works with great detail, yet we have been unable to measure how it behaves in any meaningful way. Thus we have been unable to derive any Laws, Axioms, Theorems, Postulates, or formulae. We are left with a Theory that cannot be applied to answer simple questions. It is a vacuous theory.

Gums

Outstanding, Thomas.
Says it all.
Gums…6

Bob Stewart

Hi Thomas, if you look at Anthony’s critique of the “science guy’s” flubbed cookie jar experiment using CO2, https://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/28/video-analysis-and-scene-replication-suggests-that-al-gores-climate-reality-project-fabricated-their-climate-101-video-simple-experiment/, you will see that the leading personalities of AGW do not understand “how it works in great detail”. These geniuses, one claiming to have invented the internet, were unaware that IR was blocked by glass. But they had some notion that green houses kept things warm in the winter, a bit like observing apples falling from a tree in Newton’s day. Sadly, they lacked Newton’s ability to create an understanding of the underlying physics that explain the phenomena. I would also argue that meaningful results have been found using the CO2 theory. Climate models have demonstrated that the hypothesis that CO2 is the fundamental driver of climate (albeit using a magical “sensitivity” feedback multiplier) is false. Predictions based on this hypothesis, made over the last two decades, have shown no skill, which in saner times would require rejecting the hypothesis. But this isn’t of any use to the religion of AGW, and so it is ignored. Or worse yet, “explained” by heat hiding in regions of the ocean, as if heat was an intelligent entity playing tricks on us … a mischievous “demon” in religious parlance.

kaliforniakook

Excellent response to those who claim to not understand why we are suspicious of Climate Science, yet all prepared to watch the eclipse last year.

joelobryan

We have detected the Higgs boson, which is required from Higgs Field Theory on why normal matter acquires mass. With this recent the verification of a Higgs boson, the Standard Model is now essentially complete in confirmation of its predicted particles and fields. Further refinement studies are still underway to further increase the precision of the experimental values for the Higgs boson energy of around 125 GeV.
Separately, Einstein’s General Relativity (GR) describes how mass distorts space-time, which fundamentally is “gravity”. And all the predictions from GR have passed every test down to the limit of precision of the experiment or study. So we know what mass particles “do”.
Thus the sets of equations from GR and the Standard model have observational verification, i.e. we do know how each works.
The central problem that remains is merging GR and the Standard Model on the scale level of quantum physics. That problem remains the central theoretical focus of many physicists.
But in the non-quantum world (where quantum rules of uncertainty, entanglements, and “spooky action at a distance” do not exist), we know how gravity works. The GPS device in your car and/or smartphone proves we know how gravity and light (EM radiation) works, as gravity affects the GPS signal’s propagation and GR-derived corrections are made for that. The geo-location precision obtained proves it works, right in your hands.

IMO gravity doesn’t have to unify with the other three forces. If we find a unified theory, great! But Nature has no obligation to do that. It is just the hope and dream of physicists obsessed with mathematical beauty. And they claim string theory, M-theory and multiverse must be true for the sake of unification, even without empirical evidence. Bias is strong even in science. There are 10^500 string vacua. Predict everything imaginable. By sheer number of possibilities, one of those universes will look like our own.

Theory of Gravity vs Theory of Greenhouse Gasses
Celestial mechanics, to a large extent, is deterministic and predictable. Weather and fluid mechanics are chaotic and unpredictable in the long run. Even if greenhouse effect is real, it’s still unpredictable. The claim of certainty is unscientific.

RAH

“The EPA is not subject to Congressional oversight”
This statement is incorrect and in fact false.
The Congress has oversight of ALL government agencies, programs, and policies, since it holds the purse strings. It was by the constitutional authority of the congress that the EPA was created in the first place.
history.house.gov/institution/origins-development/power-of-the-purse/
https://archive.epa.gov/ocir/leglibrary/pdf/112senatejuris.pdf

johchi7

RAH
The point I feel you are missing is; the EPA first creates the issues from the so called data they get and make regulations upon it. For example; some scientific study is done that says {X} ppb of this chemical causes the mutations of this species of amphibian. The EPA says ban this chemical and make regulations on its production and use. The Congress Oversight Committee takes the advice from the EPA findings and appropriates the funding to the EPA to carry out those regulations.
The results is other countries also took up that ideology because it was propagandized globally, leading to hundreds of millions of people that have died and hundreds of millions more have health issues from the parasites carried by the insects that chemical was most effective in killing, that transfer those parasites to humans and billions of other animals that have died from them. All because those “scientist” exposed a group of frogs to higher quantities of said chemical than would ever enter into the environment over decades, if it were used as recommended by the manufacturer.
Add to that the many other insects – that due to their miniscule size – are only controlled by that same chemical and they damage crops and pose health issues to millions of animals…. All to appease the environmentalist fearing a mutation of a species of frog that would probable only affect a small percentage of them… If somebody used higher than recommended amounts of it in an area that species of frog habitat.
Using that same scenario; we have the demonization of atmospheric plant fertilizer and their main source of cellular generation, because scientists made false claims on these molecules affects on our global temperature. That before enough is known about it… regulations, taxation and controls on production were established that have increased the cost of living in every aspect of our lives, globally. That after decades of indoctrination of those false affects, that majority of the population now believe them to be factual.

RAH

I’m not “missing” anything. While I agree with the premise of the article, the statement I quoted is still false and should be edited or omitted in order to support the credibility of the rest of the fine article.

Tom in Florida

Perhaps he meant the Congress chooses not to oversee the EPA.

RAH

Now that would be absolutely correct IMO!

Gums

Way I see it, RAH, is that Congressional oversight for EPA is not quite the same as for HHS, HUD, DoD, HSA, FBI,and so forth.
The EPA charter is the only means by which Congress can “oversee” the EPA. In other words, the original law needs t be revised to clearly define the scope of the EPA’s regulatory authority. Otherwise, Congress can only argue that EPA’s regulations and enforcement are “beyond scope” of the original charter.
The C02 ruling by the Supremes was a travesty, mainly ’cause nobody believed the state AG group would win. So the “W” administration didn’t take the suit seriously. And it didn’t take a genius to know that within a short time that the Bronco administration EPA would issue an “endangerment” finding. And then the EPP or whatever the anti-coal plan was came along.
RAH’s point about “power of the purse” applies to DoD and a few other agencies, but the EPA and some others do not get funded on a line-by-line basis of their “policy”. In other words, the agency can operate according to the original enacting charter and not kowtow to some Senator from Oregon.
Gums….

joelobryan

I read that too and agree, that statement is false.
The very fact that Pruitt was testifying under oath and responding to those Congressperson’s questions demonstrates the oversight of the EPA by Congress.

“Once they received the data from Michael Mann and published their analysis of it in Energy & Environment (McIntyre and McKitrick 2003), the Nature editors ordered Mann, et al. to publish a correction and restatement of their paper (McKitrick 2018).”
They did? Wow!
Pruitt will bring down the Harvard 6 studies demonizing PM1.5, where particulate matter is blamed for millions of premature deaths, but the evidence is hidden. Let’s hope he also brings down the Endangerment Finding, whereby CO2 is described as a pollutant.

Wayne Townsend

We tend to call the excessive actions of the federal government does “Socialism”. As you quote Merriam-Webster defining that as: “Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods…” Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
The proper word (as defined in Merriam-Webster dictionary — Fascism: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that … stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader [or bureaucracy — my addition], severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.” Of course, the Democratic party increasingly tends towards the last part in the guise of speech regulations and the ironically named Antifa.

Gums

Actually Wayne, what we are seeing might be called “statism”, and close to “fascism”, but not quite.
The current trend I see in the U.S. is to abdicate more and more responsibility and “care” for you to the government as a result of your actions or lack of or just plain bad luck.
Even the U.S.S.R. did not allow the amount of capitalism that the modern “socialists” states permit
.
Gums opines…

MarkW

A decade ago I opined that China would soon be more capitalistic than the US.
I see no reason to change that opinion.

Bob Stewart

Thank you Andy. I just checked my pre-order of your book on Amazon, and I see it is due to be “published” on May 1st. Tomorrow! (Actually a bit before midnight, tonight, on my Kindle.)
The Jim McDermott wing of the Democrat Party has a long history of illegally recording conversations. Their concern over Pruitt’s installation of a secure phone booth suggests they continue to have an interest in this method of acquiring useful snippets of conversation that can be parsed out to the media. It is curious that they have shown no concern over an illegal form of “transparency”, while rejecting that required by some of the more ethical “peer reviewed” journals.

Non Nomen

Getting a secure phone line is one thing, but I doubt that he can isolate or uproot these Durian-Obama-plants. EPA still stinks at certain places.

joelobryan

The EPA is deeply infiltrated in its civil service ranks by hundreds of cross-over hires from the NRDC, Sierra Club, other Environmental NGOs (ENGO’s). Many of those cross-over hires do not have hard science or engineering degrees, but rather soft degrees in ecology or Liberal Arts and come with little or no actual understanding of the science and engineering that occurs at the point of where the regulations impact.
The EPA at all levels of the civil service bureaucracy is thus riddled with moles who can act both passively (reporting secretly back to ENGO’s the discussions occurring at meetings where regulations are discussed) and actively by delaying and sitting on requests for action and data by the politcal appointees who run the joint.

Gums

Bob and Joel and Non are onto something.
Pruit’s staff or whoever has finally admitted that he has been threatened and extra security is necessary. Ditto for NRA mifwics, but that’s off-thread.
Let’s face it, the true green folks that are living in another world have gone to extremes. Good grief, they have driven nails into trees that rip a chain apart and have shrapnel flying about. Then a log gets to the saw mill and the nail ruins a thousand $$$ blade or band. Eco-terrorism has been documented for a few decades. However, the fanatical obsession with catastrophic warming and the 97% science has invigorated them beyond comprehension.
Joel has pinted out the hindreds of folks in the swamp that cannot be fired easily and got there under previous administrations. Using the budget that RAH has suggested is one good way to have the agencies prioritize, and we are seeing that now in NASA.
Gums sends…

“Once they received the data from Michael Mann and published their analysis of it in Energy & Environment (McIntyre and McKitrick 2003), the Nature editors ordered Mann, et al. to publish a correction and restatement of their paper (McKitrick 2018). ”
McKitrick 2018 says that Nature published Mann’s correction in June 2006. I cannot find this on Google, hmmm. Does any one have it? First I have heard of it. This could be huge, and I would dearly love to show it to my sister.

rd50

rd50,
Thanks. Mann admitted nothing, unsurprisingly.

Allencic

I’m a retired geology professor. Over the years our grads went into many fields where their geologic training was put to good use. Many went into environmental organizations both public and private. It was obvious to me that many who gravitated to public regulatory agencies were often mediocre students who simply took joy in telling other people what to do. The best students worked for private companies.

HotScot

Allencic
Interesting observation, from a qualified observer.

Good essay. What is astounding is the warmunist reaction to a modest, logical proposal that essentially administratively accomplished the HONEST legislation produced after public hearings by Lamar Smith’s committee. Misrepresentation and worse. Don’t these folks (UCS is but one example) realize that all their whining can be easily checked and then refuted?

MarkW

I would go further, any existing regulation that is based on secret data will be repealed unless and until the data is produced and analyzed.

Bob Stewart

MarkW, how about requiring “reproduced” as well as “produced”? This would likely eliminate better than half of the regulations now besetting us.

Bob boder

All laws and or regulations should have sunset clause and should need to be reapproved every 10 years unless it is in the constitution.

BFL

“He had been charged with spending too much money on travel, security and a secure phone booth for his office. Certainly, a reason to reprimand him,”
I suspect the reason for increased office security is that he is still surrounded by many “swamp” types who would take any opportunity to undermine him. He also has increased personal security with those associated costs (and I suspect this is also the reason for different travel arrangements) because of numerous death threats. In this hateful environment I believe that all of the costs are justified.

The EPA secretary, Scott Pruitt, testified before the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday April 26, 2018. He had been charged with spending too much money on travel, security and a secure phone booth for his office. Certainly, a reason to reprimand him, but I’m not sure a full day of Congressional hearings were warranted. Besides Scott Pruitt has spent far less on travel than either of his immediate predecessors at the EPA.
His predecessor, Gina McCarthy, 2013-2017, took 10 international trips during that time as opposed to Pruitt’s 2 in one year, not exactly like with like. Unlike Pruitt, McCarthy only had a security detail of 6 to his 20 and flew coach not first class, and she didn’t take them with her on private travel, whereas Pruitt took a security detail with him on a trip to the Super Bowl. Regarding hearings it took 136 days of hearings to get her confirmed due to republican opposition (1100 questions). Later republicans introduced a resolution impeaching her which failed. Pruitt’s confirmation took about a month, a day of questions seems rather minor in comparison.

Pruitt is likely to be a target of enviro crazies. He needs high security.

Reg Nelson

Yes, Pruitt submitted a report from the IG documenting numerous death treats, not only toward him but also his family.
The hilarious thing is that when have Democrats ever been concerned about spending? The spending cuts in the department easily dwarf the phone booth and plane tickets.

Tom in Florida

Perhaps his spending would fall under the definition of “crumbs”.

Non Nomen

It is obvious to me that Pruitt has quite a lot of “politically correct” adversaries capable of going one step too far. So a certain upgrade in security seems justified. Skeptics are good at debates but don’t turn violent.

Paul Johnson

In this hearing Secretary Pruitt made references to senior career staff in response to some of his problems. Are these career staff holdovers from the McCarthy tenure and are they actively working to make him look bad?

joelobryan

The confirmation process was altered in 2013 when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid exercised the so-called nuclear option on senate confirmation executive branch cabinet officers and lower judicial n court nominees. Thus between the time McCarthy was confirmed and when Pruitt was confirmed, the number of votes to confirm effectively dropped from 60 votes to 51.
The reason the nuclear option was exercised, breaking over 100 years of Senate tradition was purely for partisan political application of power by Democrats who wanted to run-roughshod over the minority Republicans. That decision has now come back to bite Democrats in a big way. Karma.

MarkW

His predecessor to 10 in 5 years, and he took 2 in one year.
Either my math is faulty, or those two look similar.
How many death threats did Pruitt’s predecessor receive?
How often was her house vandalized?

Reg Nelson

Watch Gina McCarthy’s testimony before Congress and compare that with Scott Pruitt’s. McCarthy was an ill prepared imbecile. Pruitt spoke knowledgeably and thoroughly about a number of topics.

Shano

She’s the EPA administrator that testified in front of congress and had no idea what the concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere was.

John Endicott

“His predecessor, Gina McCarthy, 2013-2017, took 10 international trips during that time as opposed to Pruitt’s 2 in one year, not exactly like with like”
so 2.5 per year (over 4 years) isn’t comparable to 2 per year over 1 year? in what universe? certainly not this one.

ResourceGuy

He gets my vote for the highest medal and ceremony awarded to a civilian.

J Mac

Our bureaucrat Rulers strenuously object to EPA Director Pruitt forcing open access to the ‘science’ used to support their ‘rule making’? They condemn themselves with their obdurate obstruction of transparency, both for congressional oversight and everyday inquiries by citizens of the USA.
Drain That Swamp, Director Pruitt!

Geo

I thought the Royal Society dropped that nullius in verba stuff for aliquod pro pecunia.

joelobryan

HIPAA and the NIH requirements for Institutional Review Boards (IRB) for all studies have required patient identifying information to be removed before the data leaves clinical hands for collection, assembly and analysis of results and findings. The IRB process stems from the National Research Act of 1974, and this establishes ethical requirements related to individual autonomy and respect for their rights. There are four mandatory conditions that stem from this principle of respect.
These conditions are requirements for IRB approval of research:
1, Voluntary consent to participate in research.
2. Informed consent. That is the patient or research subject is told what will be done with their data.
3, Protection of privacy and confidentiality (further strengthened by the HIPA Act of 1996).
4. The right to withdraw from research without penalty.
So the argument is specious that patient confidentiality would prevent the EPA from using this data. Existing law and HIPAA already demands patient confidentiality and IRBs must ensure this. Others besides the EPA already have the legal responsibility to protect patient identifying patient data.
If patient/study subject identifying data for epidemiological or research or clinical research data is in the hands of EPA bureaucrats, then HIPAA and the IRB protocols have already been violated.
Those arguing against the HONEST Act are simply lying.

MarkW

HIPPA

joelobryan
TA

From the article: “With that being said, facts are facts and fiction is fiction. And a lie doesn’t become truth just because it appears on the front page of a newspaper.”
A lie does become the truth sometimes, Scott. It depends on how much the lie is repeated without refutation. One good example is the “Mission Accomplished” lie that was told about G.W. Bush in 2003. That lie is still going strong here in 2018.

Tom in Florida

Remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it. -George Costanza-

John Endicott

“Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it” is one of my favorite quotes from that show.
And there are so many true believers in the CAGW religion. There’s also a large number of knowing charlatans that it hard to tell, sometimes, which are telling falsehoods that they know are lies and which are telling falsehoods because they actually believe the garbage they are spewing.

TA

Scott Pruitt has been getting a lot of death threats since he took over EPA. Something like four times as many threats as anyone else in the Trump administration. That’s the main reason for the spending he has been doing. He doubled his security detail among other things.
Pruitt appears to be really good at his job and Trump likes him, and that’s probably why. So unless the Democrats have something else on Pruitt, he is probably going to be around for a while.

ossqss

Gotta love the quote from the guy at the Union of Concerned Socialists.
Translation, we cannot expose our data because somebody might see it!

joelobryan

It is the Phil Jones lack of ethics mentality. Someone might find what is wrong in the results and conclusions if they have “my data.” Thus I’ll delete it before (Phil Jone’s words) before I turn it over to them.

whiten

It does not sound that bad, or even rational.
Is not like something about a collusion charge, with Ruskis, or China, or Aliens……
And when it comes to the top EPA man expenses, these expenses do not seem even to come with any meaning of close to the Shukra expenses, on the tax payers burden.
And Shukra is just a “jerk”, in comparison of position and stature…..and like so so many others like that fouling the taxes.
Any time soon that the Congress may have to look at the extraordinary waste of the taxes by the likes of the multitude of the “Shukras”, the real tax thieves!!!!???
cheers

Peta of Newark

Are they moaning about something akin to the new US embassy in London – that Mr Trump (less than kindly) remarked upon?
How a fantastically desirable bit of London real-estate where the original embassy was, was effectively given away for $250 million, supposedly releasing cash while enabling a lovely new embassy to be built.
Except the new one cost $1,000 million and is somewhere out on the South Bank = A Different Country effectively and might as well be in Timbuktu.
So, who organised *that* financial fiasco?
Needn’t ask who paid for it.
ha ha.
U did.
As gently as I can, may I suggest not so much bragging please about how rich you are.
Simple minded people, crooks and lawyers alike will take you at your word and relieve you of that awesome burden.

HotScot

Peta
my understanding is that, amongst many other reasons, the original American embassy was so riddled with listening devices, they had no option but to start afresh.
Mind you, I think it’s bollox otherwise, why wouldn’t they just knock the old building down and start afresh in Grosvenor Square.
I’m not certain, however, that we ought to be laughing at the fiasco of others when the fiasco’s in our own government are even more monumental.
I believe the UK is destined to spunk £300 bn by the year 2030 on renewable energy.
Now that’s laughable.

R. Shearer

I’ve heard that to reduce violence in the UK, knives are being banned, except for at abortion clinics, maternity and neo-natal wards.

stinkerp

You would think the people who voted for or supported “the most transparent administration in history” would be in favor of transparency in the EPA. You would be wrong.
The Obama administration and its supporters were not in favor of transparency and democracy. They were (and are) in favor of being in power and doing things their way. Their actions—regularly impeding Freedom of Information Act requests and declining to publish data—tell us what the platitudes they uttered about “transparency” don’t.

Curious George

The Democratic Party gives a new meaning to the word “democratic”: You lose elections, resist, Resist, RESIST!!

MarkW

When Clinton was running against Bush the elder, I debated with a number of Democrats.
They readily admitted that Clinton was a liar and lacked any kind of moral center.
But they were going to vote for him anyway because he promised to increase various programs that they benefited from.
For a liberal, that really is all that matters. How much other people’s stuff can government give to them.

KLohrn

“Publishing raw data also opens scientists up to attacks”
A closed in defensible science or scientist is the worst possible thing that could happen to the scientific environment or the whether for all that matters.

Amber

Making reproducible science mandatory ? Isn’t that what real science is meant to be ?
No … natural tricks and phoney hockey stick schlock .
Scott Pruitt is on the right track as evidence by the mouse attacks .
I’m liking the $$ Billion saved and if it costs a bit more to protect him from
the loony left so be it .
All those’ Clean Out Taxpayer rent seeking lobbyist’s and con men need to just slitter away .
The polar bears are thriving (poor seals ) and that ice free Arctic turned out to be another
bit of eco – doom porn .

archibaldperth

Pruitt still hasn’t reversed the endangerment finding on CO2. Doing so would set a billion people free – the populations of the US, Europe, Japan and beyond. Reversing the endangerment finding would be a permanent setback for the warmers. Everything else in the meantime is reversible. Pruitt needs to be replaced by someone with fire in their belly.

Mickey Reno

I’m all for getting rid of the endangerment finding. But I’m even more in favor of the US withdrawing from the UNFCCC, which would also remove us from the IPCC. This needs to happen, and I hope Trump and Pruitt will push to make it happen. We need all the Congressional Republicans to sack up and force this change. Reach down and talk to your inner Trump, and get US money out of the hands of these UN global bureaucrats.

if the EPA is going to restrict someone’s private property rights for the “greater good” they must release all the data and analysis used to justify the regulations.“. That’s not limiting science and it’s not denying science. Putting the science where people can see it is promoting science.

rogerthesurf

“New Zealand is listed first by the International Property Rights Index.
That sounds like fairy land to me. Especially right now when I am in a fight with my local government for a extension for my building permit.
To put it in its category, it is simply insane.
Of course the building regulations here are designed to “Protect” the home owner because of their “love” of humanity.
Only trouble is the Council fees and drawings, engineers fees and architects fees and other expenses needed to prove that the proposed house complies with the building code and environmental laws, make this “love” so expensive that one wonders if there will be enough cash to actually build the house.
Yes we do have homeless people in Christchurch. Something I never saw in previous years.
Read more about the NZ Government at http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com
Cheers
Roger

s-t

“The EPA is not subject to Congressional oversight, nor does it have any independent ruling body, it reports only to the President, this gives it great power.”
Is the EPA yet another (unlisted) branch of the government?
Another unlisted “branch” would be the special prosecutors/special councils; the FBI/FBM, an autonomous agency (that has agency, apparently), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau… and the DoJ. And the intelligence community (that does consensus pretty much like the IPCC and inspires almost as much trust as the IPCC).
So, how many independent branches of fed gov are there now?
And do theses bodies all have First Amendment rights? They do seem to feel free to publish whatever PR for whatever unholy reason, like the NYT and the WaCo. (Remember, the Numes memo totally endangers the sources of intel of the intel community. Also, the Numes memo is totally devoid of substance; it’s as real as another Michael Crichton novel. It contains nothing of interest, it’s a fiction, and it’s totally devastating for our future work. Trust us.)
I wonder if these agencies with agency should be incorporated once and for all. They could act on equal footing with any other corporations or associations. And they would have the escape route of “Chapter 11” like Trump’s casino.
[?? .mod]

s-t

Incorporate agencies. Turn the federal agencies into corporations. Then they can be sued like any “Big Capitalist Stuff, Inc”; no special protection.

joelobryan

(Hold this for Anthony, don’t think this should be approved in this form for privacy reasons) MOD
In my Email Inbox this evening was this from AAAS:

Joint statement on EPA proposed rule and public availability of data
Authors: Jeremy Berg1,*, Philip Campbell2, Veronique Kiermer3, Natasha Raikhel4,5, Deborah Sweet6
1Editor-in-Chief, Science family of journals, Washington, DC 20005, USA.
2Editor-in-Chief, Nature, London, N1 9XW, UK.
3Executive Editor, Public Library of Science (PLOS) Journals, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA.
4Interim Editor-in-Chief, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) of the United States of America, Washington, DC 20001, USA.
5Distinguished Professor of Plant Biology, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA 92507, USA.
6Vice President of Editorial, Cell Press, and Acting Editor-in-Chief, Cell, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
We are writing in response to a proposed rule announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a 24 April 2018 press release (1). The release reads, “The rule will ensure that the regulatory science underlying Agency actions is fully transparent, and that underlying scientific information is publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent validation.”
Data sharing is a feature that contributes to the robustness of published scientific results. Many peer-reviewed scientific journals have recently adopted policies that support data sharing, consistent with the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) standards. These standards, however, recognize the array of workflows across scientific fields and make the case for data sharing at different levels of stringency; in not every case can all data be fully shared. Exceptional circumstances, where data cannot be shared openly with all, include data sets featuring personal identifiers.
We support maintaining the rigor of research published in our journals and increasing transparency regarding the evidence on which conclusions are based. As part of these goals, we require that all data used in the analysis must be available to any researcher for purposes of reproducing or extending the analysis. Importantly, the merits of studies relying on data that cannot be made publicly available can still be judged. Reviewers can have confidential access to key data and as a core skill, scientists are trained in assessing research publications by judging the articulation and logic of the research design, the clarity of the description of the methods used for data collection and analysis, and appropriate citation of previous results.
It does not strengthen policies based on scientific evidence to limit the scientific evidence that can inform them; rather, it is paramount that the full suite of relevant science vetted through peer review, which includes ever more rigorous features, inform the landscape of decision making. Excluding relevant studies simply because they do not meet rigid transparency standards will adversely affect decision-making processes.

I bolded the last part (above) to bring your attention to a misdirection employed by these editors. Everything they write above that point is true and factual in their journals demands for “maintaining the rigor of research published in our journals and increasing transparency regarding the evidence on which conclusions are based.”
They self-servingly blather on about their own journal standards and mention “workflows” and not every case can data be shared. Okay. This is disingenuous since any of the data they may be hinting at is likely clinical and or patient data, and laws and standards are already in place to anonymize the data that flows to journals for editorial review.
But then they followed it with a jump in the final paragraph to public policy. Public policy is quite different from scientific inquiry and the policing that should go on to ensure integrity. Indeed, the lapses of integrity in biomedical science fields have been such that the journals themselves have had to “up their game” on data oversight and analyzing of images for manipulation markedly in the past decade due to investigator-author ethical misbehavior. So ethical lapses (manipulated data, faulty statistical methods, altered images, cherry-picked results) have indeed happened (and certainly still happens) in science and not been caught by the editors or reviewers before publication. In many case years lapse before the fraud is finally revealed. The editors seem to be implicitly asserting fraud can’t/won’t happen, especially if the investigator(s) know the data will be kept secret, with multi-billion dollar regulatory costs to public and private interests, is naive at best by these editors, at worst it is their gross bias for politicized science on open display.
Public policy by government agencies potentially involves billions of dollars of economic impact to taxpayers and the public. The public as such then does have a right to know where from policy makers are “informed.” This final paragraph in their joint statement from Science, Nature, PLOS, PNAS, and Cell magazine editors
flies in the face of accountability to the public that our constitutional representative democracy is founded upon.
Furthermore, it is no secret that the EPA’s past reliance on “secret science” was abused to push a desired policy agenda, and the “science” behind it was created with a conclusion already framed. The new administration’s reaction to these past abuses is one reason why the voters rejected the candidate from the party of the previous 8 years. Those voters were fed-up with secret science, lack of accountability, and an air of “trust us, we know what’s best for you” administration where public accountability at the EPA was severely abused to push an agenda with trillions of dollars of economic impacts through restrictions on private property rights and costs of energy.
The surest way to ensure such abuse of using secret science in public policy making is to forbid it by Legislation from the People’s representativ3s in our Federal government, that is Congress. This joint statement from the editors is further evidence for the public that the corruption of science has infiltrated all the major scientific journals, at least where the EPA and environmental regulations for public policy are concerned.
Joel O’Bryan, PhD

joelobryan

“(Hold this for Anthony, don’t think this should be approved in this form for privacy reasons) MOD”
huh? What privacy issues/reasons? There are no email addresses or specific addresses for the editors. This statement these 45 editors make is to the Public for widest dissemination, with their names and institutional associations included. And my comments are my own opinions.

Non Nomen

Quite a lot of people are seemingly obviously afraid of the bottle of truth being opened and, once the Ghouls called transparency and freedom of information are out to haunt the scientific world, no one can ever lure them back in.
Nice idea. Serves them right. No more hiding, folks!

Moderators, I made a comment on this yesterday and it may have been sucked up by the spam filter. Thanks!

This particular issue has been a burr under my saddle for quite some time. It’s wrong to use taxpayer money to fund scientific inquiry that is later withheld from the public’s scrutiny. It’s also wrong to make policy and regulation without accountability. Both of these issues leads to a distrust of government and it also leads to a tendency by the government to feel like they can dictate down to the ‘proles’ when it really should be a collaborative process.
I’m a co-host of a podcast where we discuss science and history and our next episode discusses this very topic. For anyone that’s interested the name of the show is Seven Ages Audio Journal and our website https://www.sevenages.org (Thanks for allowing me the shameless plug, moderators!)