Trump’s EPA Factchecks The NYT, Says Journos Botched Report On Agency’s Move To Nix Secret Science

From The Daily Caller

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Chris White Tech Reporter

November 12, 2019 4:51 PM ET

The Environmental Protection Agency suggested Tuesday that a New York Times’ report fleshing out the agency’s move to make the regulatory process more transparent contained gross inaccuracies.

The EPA took exception to several sections of a NYT report Monday that highlights the agency’s proposal to help make data collecting more transparent for scientists who are trying to replicate research. The report contained “glaring inaccuracies,” the agency noted in a statement.

EPA’s statement starts with an explanation of how the so-called Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science rule will impact the agency’s ability to craft regulations. The proposal seeks to make the data and scientific studies that are pivotal to regulatory action available for review.

On Nov. 8, the EPA delivered to the Office of Management and Budget a draft supplemental federal register notice (FRN) to clarify vague elements of the original 2018 proposal, according to the agency’s statement. The agency intends on filing a final rule in 2020.

NYT’s report Monday “incorrectly” noted that the proposal “could apply retroactively to public health regulations already in place.” Neither the proposal nor the supplemental apply to regulations already in place, the EPA noted before lambasting other elements of the report.

The report suggests that the EPA’s proposal might render existing regulations inadmissible when they come up for renewal. TheNYT suggested a 1993 Harvard University project linking polluted air to premature deaths could be nixed under the proposal. Scientists in the project collected data from people who signed confidentiality agreements ahead of the project.

This characterization is false, according to the EPA. (RELATED: Andrew Wheeler Says He Will Implement Rule To Keep ‘Secret Science’ Out Of EPA)

“The supplemental (and the original proposal) allow studies like the Harvard Six City study to be used,” the agency noted. “The agency has not rejected or otherwise eliminated that option in anyway in its original proposal or supplemental.”

“The story continues with more false information,” the EPA noted before saying that The NYT also writes that the proposal is “part of a broader administration effort to weaken scientific underpinnings of policymaking.” The agency argued that making science transparent strengthens science.

Analysts echoed the EPA’s sentiment. “If it’s true that the EPA would ban the use of secret science, then it’s huge. Has incredible ramifications,” Steve Milloy, publisher of JunkScience.com, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. It’s designed to prevent EPA from “basing rules on secret data.”

Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed reversing the agency’s long-standing practice of relying on non-public scientific data in crafting rules in 2018. Conservatives like Milloy call such studies “secret science” and say expensive regulations have been based on non-public data.

The NYT has not responded to the DCNF request for comment.

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41 thoughts on “Trump’s EPA Factchecks The NYT, Says Journos Botched Report On Agency’s Move To Nix Secret Science

    • That’s the WaPo’s motto.

      But regardless, the Leftist media only applies that Transparency standard to Republicans and Republican administrations. The evidence is quite clear on that Double Standard from the media like the NYTimes and the WaPo. Did you see any WaPo Op-Eds criticizing the “secret” Impeachment hearings the Democrats led by Adam Schiff were conducting in the House Intelligence Committee’s SCIF that excluded everyone but a few select members and no press coverage, even though there was no classified testimony? (the answer is No.)

      • “part of a broader administration effort to weaken scientific underpinnings of policymaking.”

        Disgraceful. If Mickey Mann and band of merry men can not hide the decline in tree rings as temperatures are rising, people may question whether dendros are a reliable proxy for temperature at all.

        That would seriously weaken “scientific underpinnings of policymaking”, that can not be allowed.

        HOW DARE THEY !!

      • “It’s the NYT, so of course it is.”

        One shouldn’t expect the truth out of the New York Times. The truth is not in them. One should assume they are lying about everything they say. You’ll be correct 99 percent of the time.

        The New York Times is pure propaganda when it comes to politics. They are Leftists promoting the Leftist political agenda. No more, no less.

      • Yes. The NY Times, like Wikipedia, can be a good source of information when there is no perceived political angle to the information (caveat: for totalitarians, some of whom write at the Times, all information has a political angle, and they are never to be trusted to put truth above ideology).

  1. What goes on the dark doesn’t always come to light in the day and that’s how the alarmists prefer it. This isn’t anti science because it’s not science to begin with.

  2. If the Republicans win the White House and win majorities in both houses of Congress in 2020 I’d like to see them abolish the EPA and amend the Clean Air Act.

    In the beginning the EPA was necessary. But over the years it has grown into an enormous agencies with too many people and with too much power. This was never the original intent. Having this much regulatory power concentrated in one agency and under one unelected Administrator is dangerous to our freedom. It would be best to abolish it. After it has been abolished the enforcement of the laws that it administer would revert back to the Department of Justice. The Republican controlled Congress could then re-establish a smaller agency under one of the cabinet departments, like for example under the Department of Commerce, to take over the enforcement of the environmental laws. The EPA is currently an independent agency. By being under a cabinet department the new agency would be responsible to the President and by establishing it as a new smaller agency you would clear out the global warming crowd who currently dominate the EPA.

    A second thing a new Congress should do is amend the Clean Air Act to specifically exclude the regulation of carbon dioxide and methane.

    I know this won’t happen. But it should happen.

  3. I am at a bit of a loss. Being able to repeal regulations that were not based in sound, reproducible science is a positive thing. It limits the political interference that has plagued EPA rule making.

  4. It will be easier for y’all to do ‘science’ if you don’t clutter your mind with NYTullshytte. “ Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness. (The Works of George Santayana)

  5. The New York Slimes telling lies? Say it ain’t so — to the marxists it’s some kind of religious scripture.

  6. The Climate Cabal editorial staff over at Science Mag took up the NYTimes story and parroted it. And then the Sci Mag writer quoted some hack at UCS, which anyone with a clue knows is completely biased. UCS is wants Secret Science to be used to force expensive policy on Americans as long it is policy they approve of..

    The Science Mag article:
    ‘Secret science’ plan is back, and critics say it’s worse”
    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/366/6467/783


    Critics are blasting a revised Trump administration plan to give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) broad power to ignore research results when setting public health rules if officials decide the underlying data are not adequately accessible to the public.

    The draft document, a version of which was leaked to The New York Times this week, supplements a 2018 data transparency proposal from EPA that was harshly criticized by scientific, environmental, and patient groups (Science, 4 May 2018, p. 472), prompting the agency to say it would issue a revision. Although EPA said in a 12 November statement that the leaked document is not the final version it sent earlier this month to the White House for review, the agency did not dispute its core substance.

    The proposed supplement “is even worse than we thought it would be,” says Gretchen Goldman of the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, D.C. “We didn’t think [the transparency proposal] could get any worse, but we were wrong.”

    One issue, critics say, is that EPA wants to greatly broaden the policy’s scope, applying it to all studies and data used by the agency and not just the “dose response” studies mentioned in the initial version. The draft also asks the public to comment on whether, in some cases, the transparency rule should be applied retroactively to past studies used to support regulation, potentially opening the door to challenges of existing rules.

    EPA officials have argued that the data transparency policy is needed to ensure that the agency uses only the best “pivotal regulatory science” that can be “independently validated” when crafting “significant” rules that are expected to impose major economic costs. The leaked proposal says EPA regulators should have “the right to place less weight” on certain studies, “to the point of entirely disregarding them,” if the underlying data are “not made available in full to EPA.”

    Critics say that language is primarily designed to weaken regulation by preventing EPA from considering epidemiological and other studies in which researchers have promised to protect the privacy of human subjects. Such confidential health information, which is typically not released to the public, has played a major role in shaping stricter EPA limits on air pollutants. For example, the iconic 1993 Six Cities Study, which linked particulate air pollution to human death and disease, helped spur new EPA soot controls. But some industry groups have long objected to EPA’s use of such “secret science.”

    EPA already has ways to assess the quality of studies and decide which it should consider when writing new rules, notes Chris Frey, a former scientific adviser to the agency and an air quality researcher at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. “But what those methods don’t do is say: ‘Just because there isn’t full public disclosure of the data, we’re going to wipe out and ignore that study, regardless of its quality.’ Doing that would prevent you from considering the full weight of the scientific evidence.”

    The draft acknowledges that full disclosure may not be possible for some studies involving health or proprietary business information; it would empower political appointees at EPA to exempt certain studies from transparency requirements. It also asks for comment on whether EPA should adopt methods, such as those used by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for only sharing sensitive data with approved researchers.

    But the proposal doesn’t discuss how much such vetting might cost, or how the rule might affect efforts to protect public health, critics note. “There’s no real analysis of what this rule would do, or the costs and benefits … it’s a solution in search of a problem,” Frey says.

    One prominent advocate of the transparency rule, however, welcomes the new draft. “I’m elated. … We’re making progress,” says Steve Milloy of JunkScience.com in Potomac, Maryland, who served on the Trump administration’s transition team at EPA. “But it’s not the end game by far,” he adds, noting the proposal must still be opened to public comment, and that any final policy will likely face a court challenge. Milloy also notes that even if EPA adopts the rule, agency officials will have leeway in interpreting it. “Words have never really mattered,” he says. “What matters is how the people in charge implement them.”

    When Science Magazine staff can’t see the value to science and ethical conduct of ensuring data transparency when expensive policy proposals are being based on it, then there is no hope for that crowd. And they are trying to hide behind “we have to protect signed patient confidentiality” excuse they know is nonsense. It is standard, usually mandatory procedure to use patient masking techniques to remove patient identifying information in NIH studies so the anonymized raw data is available to all to cross check. Patients are assigned random ID numbers and that list connecting specific identifying patients is kept separate from the data analysis and the data posting. When they mean “data in full” that does not mean patient identity information, it means no hiding “inconvenient data” like patient underlying morbidities or reported history (like diabetes or smoking history) that could confound or invalidate a “desired” conclusion.

  7. If there was no fabrication and lies by the EPA, there would be no reason for ‘secrecy’.

    In the green fairy tale game, lying and cheating is fair game for the true believers and the news activists which includes the fake news such as PBS, CNN, and NYT.

    An activist is different than a ‘reporter’, a thinker, a non-Zombie.

    Comment:
    The green ‘solution’ does not work and there has been for at least a decade a half dozen independent unequivocal observations and analysis, that show human CO2 emission is responsible for less than 5% of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2. (CAGW/AGW ‘science’ is 100% incorrect.)

  8. Here’s how the NYT is spinning it:

    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is preparing to significantly limit the scientific and medical research that the government can use to determine public health regulations, overriding protests from scientists and physicians who say the new rule would undermine the scientific underpinnings of government policymaking. link

    That sounds like a riff on “Trust us, we’re scientists.” OK you arrogant goof balls, how about Nullius in verba.

    It is an expression of the determination of Fellows to withstand the domination of authority and to verify all statements by an appeal to facts determined by experiment.

    It’s something like “Just the facts ma’am.” Before a judge pronounces her judgment, she considers the facts from both sides. So it is supposed to work with science. The scientists’ appeal to authority is something like a robust defense of kangaroo courts everywhere.

  9. Here’s some more data that hardly anyone understands, but most of the media/extremists couldn’t care less.
    This is just another problem for our CAGW fanatics and their endless yapping about the so called co2 control knob.
    At the start of the Ind Rev (1750) co2 levels were about 280 ppm and by 1990 they had reached about 350 ppm.
    So that’s an increase of about 70 ppm over 240 years, or about 0.29 ppm per year.
    But from 1990 to 2019.9 the co2 levels have increased from 350 ppm to about 410 ppm in less than 30 years.
    And that is an increase of 60 ppm or just 10 ppm less than the 240 years taken to reach an extra 70 ppm.
    So that increase since 1990 is slightly more than 2 ppm per year,or about 7 times faster per year than the longer 240 year period.
    Yet this was mainly due to China, India and the developing countries, while the OECD countries almost flat-lined since 1990.
    Anyone not see their problem with so called climate mitigation? What a con, what a fra-d and even NET co2 SINK Australia and the entire southern hemisphere have been dragged into this mess. ( see CSIRO Cape Grim, entire SH is a net co2+ methane sink)

    https://www.csiro.au/en/Research/OandA/Areas/Assessing-our-climate/Latest-greenhouse-gas-data

    • The “So that’s an increase of about 70 ppm over 240 years, or about 0.29 ppm per year.” was in fact not linear as you imply with your linearly calculated slope of 0.29 ppm/yr. CO2 probably didn’t begin to rise outside of the natural range of 280 (+/-10) ppm until about c.1850-1890. And since about 1880 the CO2 increase has been nonlinear, and logarithmic. The real question is what fraction of that increase is anthro in orign (fossil fuel burinign) and what fraction is from natural warming of the ocean outgassing coming out of the LIA? That is the mult-Trillion dollar question no one can adequately answer.

      The real fact/story is the GMST Pause from 1998 to 2015 was real while pCO2 increased at +2 ppm/year. The implication is clear then that natural internal variability (ocean cycles) or external variability (solar, GCR-clouds?) overcame the increasing CO2-GHG forcing. And China emissions didn’t become significant until ~ 2000, and India probably by 2010. Now both India’s and China’s emissions growth are set to completely make irrelevant any CO2 reduction/mitigation the OECD nations can manage.

    • BTW I just worked out that the 800+ million people that live in the SH emit about 6.5% of global co2 emissions. Of course we don’t really emit any NET emissions at all because of sequestration.
      That 800 M is about 12% of the global population. Of course the SH is a NET SINK for both co2 and Methane, so we should expect a regular reparations cheque in the mail on an ongoing basis. Certainly at least 5 billion $ per month should do the trick. I WISH.

  10. “The NYT suggested a 1993 Harvard University project linking polluted air to premature deaths could be nixed under the proposal. Scientists in the project collected data from people who signed confidentiality agreements ahead of the project.”

    That’s not the scandal, it’s just a violation.

    In my field of endeavour the Harvard six cities study is used as classic example of bad science, invalid projection and how the sum of a series of unjustifiable assumptions can be used to affect public policy.

    The report is lampooned as farcical imagination based on assumptions multiplied by assumptions and more assumptions.

    I wrote a piece on another thread this week about how “premature deaths” are attributed. Attributable does not mean avoidable – that’s the bottom line. Just because the hopelessly incorrect “equitoxicity” ruling by the EPA was used in the Six Cities study does not validate it. Equitoxicity doesn’t stand alone, it can’t stand. Particles are not equally toxic. Any fool knows that.

    Six Cities purports to demonstrate that all “air pollution” shortens lives. If one assumes equitoxicity and assumes concentration means exposure and assumes actual exposure, and assumes exposure means inhalation and assumes inhalation means absorption and assumes absorption means disease consequence and assumes disease consequence is homogeneous over a population for statistical purposes, then one can assume a population will suffer premature deaths from air pollution, regardless of innoculation, diet, genetics, work habits, gender, all other forms of exposure to pollution and health care quality.

    If you don’t mind that virtually all the important aspects of the equation were invented by the researchers, then air pollution can indeed shorten lives, inside printed papers.

    But they don’t stop there: they turn “premature deaths” via additional assumptions into “deaths by assumption”. They are killing people with numbers.

    The goal should be to kill the equitoxicity rule. No one believes it is true, and it underpins hundreds of regulations.

  11. This problem with the NYT is not hard to fix.

    Have HHS obtain a few “confidential” reports on the life expectancy benefits of increased firepower, particularly in disadvantaged areas and demographics. Then, promulgate a new rule requiring every household to be equiped with a machine gun.

    I have every confidence the NYT will then appreciate the need for transparancy in rulemaking.

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