NY Times’ Friedman Misrepresents EPA’s Transparency Rule — Again

New Brief by Kip Hansen – 6 March 2020

 

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The NY Times’ Lisa Friedman continues to misrepresent the EPA’s proposed “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” rule, making the same unsubstantiated and false claims she made last November.  Her new attack was prompted by the EPA’s issuance of a “ Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking” [link is a .pdf] making revisions to the originally proposed wording of the rule.

Friedman’s new attack article appears in the 4 March 2020 online issue of the NY Times as  “E.P.A. Updates Plan to Limit Science Used in Environmental Rules”.  The last time Friedman wrote about the rule (November 2019) her reporting was so blatantly inaccurate that the E.P.A. issued an official press release titled “The New York Times’ Several Glaring Inaccuracies ‘That’s Fit To Print’” documenting her errors and false statements, using such language as:  “….  This is completely false…. which is completely false.…This is not true…. The story continues with more false information….This is just wrong….This is just bad reporting. It is completely misleading, and lacks the understanding of the rule making process…. “ – you get the idea.  Despite the exceptionally strong language of the E.P.A. rebuttal, neither Friedman or the NY Times issued any correction to the November 2019 article – in fact, not a single word was printed in the Times even acknowledging that there had been an E.P.A. press release.

As the E.P.A. pointed out in its November 2019 Press Release, Friedman does not seem to understand the Federal rulemaking process.  There is no “plan” and it has not been “updated”.  There is a Proposed Rule [ repeating the link to the .pdf ].  The Proposed Rule is undergoing the required steps of the Federal Rulemaking Process,  a simplified explanation is available here.  The process being followed can be summarized like this:

Proposed Rule. In this step, the agency publishes the actual proposed regulatory language in the Federal Register; in which a discussion of the justification and analysis behind the rule is printed, as well as the agency’s response to any public comment on the advance notice.

Public comment. Once a proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, a public comment period begins, allowing the public to submit written comments to the agency. Most agencies are required to respond to every issue raised in the comments. Depending on the complexity of the rule, comment periods may last for 30 to even 180 days.

Final Rule. Usually, the proposed rule becomes the final rule with some minor modifications. In this step, the agency publishes a full response to issues raised by public comments and an updated analysis and justification for the rule, including an analysis of any new data submitted by the public. In some cases, the agency may publish a second draft proposed rule, especially if the new draft is so different from the proposed rule that it raises new issues that have not been submitted to public comment. This again appears in the Federal Register, and if no further steps are taken by the public or interested parties, it is codified into the Code of Federal Regulations.

In the case of the E.P.A.’s “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” rule, there have been several Supplemental Notices that have revised the original wording of the rule, responding to public comments and clarifying various points of the rule.  The latest Supplemental includes several critical definitions of terms.

I will try to save the Environmental Protection Agency some time and effort by pointing out some of the falsehoods and misrepresentations in the latest Friedman article:

Friedman:  The rule “would significantly restrict the type of research that can be used to draft environmental and public health regulation”.

This is simply false.  Nothing in the rule restricts any “type” of research – neither past research or future research.

Friedman:  “The revisions made public Tuesday evening mean the Environmental Protection Agency would give preference to studies in which all underlying data is publicly available.”

This is incorrect and misleading – the proposed rule and the supplemental notice do not require “all underlying data [to be] publicly available”.  The revisions specifically clarify what the transparency requirements are and “EPA is also proposing options that would allow EPA to consider studies even if the underlying data and models are not publicly available.”  And “the Agency will only use pivotal regulatory science and/or pivotal science if the data and models are available in a manner sufficient for independent validation.”

Friedman:  “That slightly relaxed restrictions in an earlier draft that would have flatly excluded any research that did not offer up its raw data, even if that data included medical information protected by privacy laws or confidentiality agreements.”

Friedman apparently learned nothing from the E.P.A.’s previous press release and has not actually read (or, if read, did not understand) the Proposed Rule or its Supplementals.  The previous E.P.A. Press Release clearly stated:  “This is not true. In the originally proposed regulation and in the leaked supplemental, EPA maintains protecting confidential personal information just as other federal health agencies regularly do. The reporter clearly does not understand the terms in the context of science transparency.”

The proposed revisions include provisions such as: “…other things being equal, the Agency will give greater consideration to studies where the underlying data and models are available in a manner sufficient for independent validation either because they are publicly available or because they are available through tiered access when the data includes CBI, proprietary data, or PII that cannot be sufficiently de-identified to protect the data subjects.” [CBI – confidential business information.  PII – personally identifiable information.]

Friedman: “Under the new version of the plan, the E.P.A., when writing or revising environmental regulations, would have to give greater weight to research in which the underlying data are available to be retested.”

Again, this is simply poor reporting.  There is no “new version of the plan” – there is no plan.  There is a Proposed Rule and it is undergoing the required federal rulemaking process, being revised and modified to answer the concerns raised by public comments.  There is nothing in the Proposed Rule about data being “retested”.

The Supplemental Notice does include precise proposed definitions (on which it requests public comment) such as:  “EPA is proposing to define “independent validation” as the reanalysis of study data by subject matter experts who have not contributed to the development of the original study to demonstrate that the same analytic results are capable of being substantially reproduced. “Capable of being substantially reproduced” means that independent analysis of the original or supporting data using identical methods would generate similar analytic results, subject to an acceptable degree of imprecision or error.”

Yes, E.P.A. will insist that pivotal science, pivotal studies, if they are to weigh heavily in decisions about regulation, must be able to be  reviewed by independent scientists, expert in the subject matter,  to determine if  the results be can validated, substantially reproduced.  Answering the basic question:  Is the science sound or not?  Advocacy Science from Advocacy Scientists – valid only from their advocacy biased points of view – will no longer be accepted without independent validation.

Friedman:  “Seminal research that has definitively linked polluted air to premature deaths, like a 1993 Harvard University report known as the Six Cities study, often persuaded participants to offer personal health information and other private data by extending strict confidentiality.  Environmental activists and former Obama administration leaders said the new rule would make it easier for the E.P.A. to weaken or repeal existing health regulations because studies that had previously been used to show the benefits might now be discarded or assigned less importance.”

Relying on the opinions of  “Environmental activists and former Obama administration leaders” Friedman raises what is apparently the greatest fear surrounding the Transparency Rule – that the Harvard Six City study, and its companion, the CPS II study,  will be closely examined and found scientifically wanting.  E.P.A. has already specifically responded to this in their previous press release, stating clearly:  “The reporter [Friedman] again says the proposal would apply retroactively to existing regulations, which is completely false. The supplemental (and the original proposal) allow studies like the Harvard Six City study to be used. The agency has not rejected or otherwise eliminated that option in anyway in its original proposal or supplemental. In fact, the supplemental makes it even clearer that such studies must be properly considered and takes comment from the public on this issue.”

The secondary issue concerns  patient confidentiality  — E.P.A. clearly stated in November that “EPA maintains protecting confidential personal information just as other federal health agencies regularly do” and proposes  “tiered access when the data includes CBI, proprietary data, or PII that cannot be sufficiently de-identified to protect the data subjects.”  Note that the full data set for the Harvard Six City study has already previously been made available to independent researchers and scientists.

Friedman:  “Gina McCarthy, who led the E.P.A. under former President Barack Obama, said the Trump administration already was facing scrutiny over its handling of the coronavirus, and she criticized the agency for moving forward with the new rule in the middle of a public health crisis.”

Friedman again shows her ignorance of (or intentional disregard for) the Federal rulemaking process.  The E.P.A. is required to respond to issues raised by public comments within a specified or reasonable amount of time. This timing is not controlled by other political considerations.  Again, either McCarthy or Friedman, or both, incorrectly call the latest issuance of a “Supplemental notice” a “new rule”, there is no new rule.  The Proposed Rule was entered into the Federal Register in 2018 and the rulemaking process has been ongoing since then.    It is the FDA, NIH and the CDC that are involved in the coronavirus pandemic  – not the E.P.A.

To her credit, while not acknowledging E.P.A.’s rebuttal of her previous article, Friedman at least gives a current quote from E.P.A. administrator Andrew R. Wheeler:

“I am committed to ensuring that the science underlying E.P.A.’s actions is of the highest quality,” he said in a statement. Once the rule is finalized, he added, it “will ensure that all pivotal studies underpinning significant regulatory actions at the E.P.A., regardless of their source, are available for transparent review by qualified scientists.” – Andrew R. Wheeler – Administrator of the E.P.A.

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Not to be outdone by the NY Times, Science Magazine online provides an equally biased, inaccurate and misleading article titled “Trump administration expands reach of EPA secret science proposal” penned by Kelsey Brugger of E&E News.

The Science piece starts out with the same inaccuracy as Friedman’s NY Times article:

Brugger:  “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday evening released a controversial proposal to limit the scientific research used in the federal rulemaking process.” 

The E.P.A. released a Supplemental Notice to rulemaking, part of the mandated Federal rulemaking process, dealing with issues raised by the public regarding the Proposed Rule, proposed in 2018, titled “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science”. While the rule has proved to be controversial it is not intended to “limit the scientific research used in the federal rulemaking process”.  It is intended to “ensure that all pivotal studies underpinning significant regulatory actions at the E.P.A., regardless of their source, are available for transparent review by qualified scientists” and be “independently validated” thus “ensuring that the science underlying E.P.A.’s actions is of the highest quality”.  The Transparency Rule is not about internal rulemaking, it is about regulatory actions at the E.P.A..

Brugger:  “The draft “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” is part of the agency’s persistent effort to rework the foundation on which public health and environmental rules are crafted.”

This is true but not in the way implied or intended by Brugger.  See the point immediately above.

Brugger:  “….Andrew Wheeler, has sought to shore up shortcomings in the initial proposal while expanding the scope to cover all the agency’s scientific information—not just what’s used in rulemaking.” …. “Another significant change in the draft is that it could apply to all EPA ‘influential science’—not just science used in regulatory efforts”

Brugger seems not to understand the Federal rulemaking process any better than Friedman – either that or they are both being fed the gist of their stories by the same activist and lobbying groups.   The original proposed rule must go through a series of comment periods followed by Agency revisions or explanations, iteratively, until the Agency has satisfied or answered public concerns.

The Supplemental Notice clarifies several points of the original proposed rule as requested by public comment and supplies definitions of terms that were unclear (having no agreed upon meaning in the lexicon of science) in the original.

The Supplemental Notice also clarifies that “This notice proposes definitions and clarifies that the proposed rulemaking applies to data and models underlying both pivotal science and pivotal regulatory science.

Yes, this means that the Science – all of it – not just that bits used to make a particular regulation but the underlying pivotal science itself must be able to be independently validated if it is being used to guide the actions of the Agency.

Yes, this means that Advocacy Science, produced with bias to forward specific advocacy positions, will no longer the basis for E.P.A. actions unless that science can be independently validated by experts in the field not involved in the original research.

This is a Good Thing – but it scares the pants off of those who have built their careers on the kind of epidemiology that produces very thin evidence of tiny effects – often, what in other scientific fields, would be considered null results.

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Thus, the supporters of Secret Science – the supporters of “Trust Us, We’re Scientists – and those guys over there aren’t really scientists unless they agree with us”-style science – continue to battle against Open Science, Transparent Science, Science that can be validated through open scrutiny by unbiased experts.

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Author’s Comment:

It is a sad commentary on the state of Science today that so many so-called scientific associations and organizations line up on the dark side — the side of Secret Science – instead of supporting efforts for transparency and independent validation of important scientific findings that underpin many of our societies reactions to ongoing problems.

The E.P.A. is obligated under the “Information Quality Act”  to ensure that it uses the best information possible to formulate regulations – and in Science, that means information that can be reviewed and validated by independent experts.

It is particularly odd given that many of the same organizations are actively promoting Open Science, Open Data, pre-print over peer-review, and other attempts to deal with Science’s larger Replicability Crisis or Reproducibility Crisis.

I, for one, am a supporter of Open Science.

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45 thoughts on “NY Times’ Friedman Misrepresents EPA’s Transparency Rule — Again

  1. Any hint that secrecy will be removed from science frightens Warmistas to their fundament. Their propaganda and their careers are built on secret or perverted science. Studies are undertaken only when the results can be assured to advance the interests of Warmism/Climate Change. Funding comes only for studies that will frighten the recalcitrants into line and frequently secrete science and hidden historical revision is required.

  2. Not everyone can handle science. Lisa Friedman can’t. Neither can”former Obama administration officials.” Sucks for them.

  3. Lisa Friedman doubles down on her previous false statements. Ugh!
    In one sense only, she seems to support ‘transparency’: Her swamp critter skin is so thin, you can see right through it!

  4. I think Anthony should organize a GoFundMe page to raise money for a thousand T-shirts saying “I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.” to be sent to Ms. Friedman in c/o the NYT.

    • OldRetiredGuy ==> Alternate wording:

      “I can explain it to you, but I can’t make you understand.”

  5. These purveyors of misinformation should be held accountable for their many roles in the climate hustle and ongoing problem of fake science that bedevils the world today.

    Without these journalists’ alarmist collaboration, the Climate Change industry might find it harder to get the funds they crave. Trillions of dollars could have been put to much better use!

  6. As a geologist who interacted with federal agencies over 40 years, on drill platform and access road construction, I can assure everyone that the two main contact agencies, the BLM and the EPA, lurch way to the left/obstructionist side during a Democrat administration and return to logic and due process under a Republican administration. The Sage Grouse issue in northern Nevada was a perfect example of this: the BLM insisted they were an indicator species and blocked “disturbing” them, the state of Nevada allowed hunting and, gasp! eating them.

    • Like the geologist Long I am a marine biologist who experienced the ups and downs. I go back to where I wrote one of the first “Environmental Impact Statements.” It was on a coastal pipeline, a short problem solving document, which now have evolved into a lot of hypotheticals. Nothing wrong with hypotheticals if kept in their place. Historically, at least, the politics comes from the top administrators, competent employees (they are still around) that actually read the literature and do the research have a problem. Question now is how far down in these organizations does the politics operate.

      One place it may be occurring is in the “Estuarine Research Reserves.” There is at least one in the midwest, proving that they have to weasel the definition of an estuary. Need to check it out, but they may be into plastics, a problem, apparently not the worst. Recycling has become another industry, maybe like ethanol?

    • Ron Long ==> Friedman’s “environmental activists” are responsible for a lot of nonsense — and falsely use the Endangered Species Act, the MBTA, and other sensible government regulations as clubs to achieve nonsensical activists goals.

  7. The NYT and the WaPo are the BBC’s first port of call for information about what is going on over the pond. Hence I assume whatever I hear on the BBC about the USA is the opposite of the truth.

    • PB, I think they just make it up actually. Other than the few instances where I’ve been trapped in a place that was running the BBC on TV. I haven’t paid any attention to their lying drivel for at least 5 – 10 years. When I last looked at or listened to an article about the USA from those Goebbelists or the equally execrable Guardian, they couldn’t even be bothered to get the name of the country right and called it “America”.

    • Phillip Bratby ==> The NY Times and WaPo are “Newspapers of Record” and what they print in the news sections is generally assumed to be reliable. That used to be true, but is no longer. NY Times journalists no longer hold themselves to a standard of accuracy expected even in High School Newspapers. In this case, Friedman writes as “fact” the opinions of “environmental activists” and politically motivated “former Obama administration leaders”.

    • I’d be happy with the “replicable science rule”.

      One thin study of some claimed effect is only valuable as a lead into a “proper investigation”.

      Something to consider: About 1993 the EPA put out a large document examining the toxicity of various compounds in “smoke” with a rating system called the toxicity equivalence factor (TEF) using Benzo-a-pyrene as the baseline = 1.0. They listed about 28 types of PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). It had a lot of common sense built in – toxicity of emissions was based its health impact potential of risk.

      Much later “pollution” was redefined as “particulate matter” (PM) and the finer analysis was dropped in favour of (first PM5.0) PM2.5. The question of how toxic particles were arose immediately so the EPA declared that all particles were equally toxic “because we do not know that they aren’t”. This is known as the equitoxicity rule. Obviously this untrue, as demonstrated by a few decades of investigative science and publication.

      Requiring replicable evidence will undermine the equitoxicity rule, which will mean a number of changes to how performance of heating systems are assessed. If PM2.5 is presently the target (g/kg burned or per hr) then it should be replaced by a toxicity target, not a mass of unknown composition. This approach is already used with food so why not air? Both are consumed.

      Food contamination by PAH is limited to a total toxic content, with a specification that BaP is limited to a particular threshold, typically 2 ppb. This is a sensible approach because the metric represents actual risk.

      Regulators have been getting away by killing people by numbers, meaning, inventing modeled deaths based on assumptions and arguments that no industry or science would accept. Tightening the rules for proof is a good thing because it makes it harder to get away with anti-industrialization charlatanry.

      Whether the Six Cities study survives proper review remains to be seen. It’s pretty flakey by modern standards. Whole sets of regulations that rely on its foundation alone should by now have been greatly bolstered by multiple detailed replications. Absent that, it is dubious. If its conclusions are sound, replication is a breeze. Where are they?

      • Crispin ==> Quite right — the issues you raise are precisely what detractors of the Transparency Rule are afraid of. Whole careers will be destroyed when some of this is exposed.

        It will take years of science reform to get it all cleared up.

        • I have been discussing this matter with an ex-WB guy who is very up on the history of these regulations. The EPA was gung-ho for PAH to be the measure of the toxicity of emissions. There is a 1993 paper listing 28 of them with a TEF = toxicity equivalence factor. The TEF rating of a pollutant is really valuable. They were really on the right track for a while.

          When they decided that PM was important, they had no way to prove that PM was by itself harmful, more specifically they could not demonstrate (due to lack of evidence, not lack of suspicions) that individual PAH’s in PM (especially condensed particulates) were related to particular health outcomes. So they declared all PM to be equally toxic (the equitoxicity rule). They they want after PM measures on the basis of Linear No Threshold (LNT) which says there is no safe low limit for anything at all, and the equitoxicity assumption. The result was impressive:
          https://cfpub.epa.gov/roe/indicator.cfm?i=9#5

          However there are serious scientific defects in this combination. The claimed health impacts were not much changed by the “successes”. It has led over the years to some very strange places.

          One EPA rule that nearly got passed would have banned farming in the USA because of the dust ploughing creates. Puddles of water being interpreted as navigable waterways was equally silly. The once great organisation is choking on its own hubris. I suspect the root is careerism.

  8. A NYT journalist said on prime time TV that everyone in the US would get $1 million if Michael Bloomberg gave them the $500 million he spent on his failed campaign.

    • icisil ==> It is well-known that journalists, like the majority of the general public, tend to be innumerate and statistically challenged. Like scientists, they should get special training in these fields that are key to their profession, but do not. Thus, the journalists are fooled by all kinds of numerical trickery and totally bamboozled by fancy, misleading statistics.

  9. Lisa did not learn. That is not her function. She is there to lie. Because the misinformation they pump out is so prolific and biased it is simply not practical to use President Reagan’s old standard of “Trust but verify” when dealing with material from the general press. So these days that my initial default position 95% of the time is if they’re for it I’m against it and if they’re against it I’m for it. If they say it’s bad then it is good or if they say it’s good then it’s bad until proven otherwise. Anymore they’re about a credible as Bagdad Bob was.

    Thankfully Kip and most other posters here take the time to set the record straight for those that wish to learn and be informed. And thankfully the internet provides sources for about any other subject matter which will break it down so that a reader has the opportunity to learn and be informed instead of misinformed and mislead.

    Despite the obvious record of bias and misinformation there are still many that are led astray. They simply go about their busy days never questioning or inquiring. My sister is one of those. A loving wonderful person but naïve when it comes to such realities.

  10. I find it astonishing that governments all around the ‘western’ world are proposing to spend trillions of pounds/dollars/euros & impose hardship and restriction on their citizens on the grounds of a scientific hypothesis without, erm, you know, checking it.

    • “without, erm, you know, checking it.”

      That’s exactly what they are doing. They are taking the word of others, never checking as to whether that “word” is factual, and then making crucial decisions for their nations based on unsubstantiated claims. Spectacularly bad decision making.

  11. “It is a sad commentary on the state of Science today that so many so-called scientific associations and organizations line up on the dark side — the side of Secret Science”

    Contrary to the above lament; “so-called scientific associations and organizations” have identified themselves as biased corrupt practitioners of pseudo-science.

    Defund every grant/award from the Federal government to them and their supported researchers.

    A major part of the problem is government supplying these characters with funds to subvert science.

    • ATheoK ==> The vast majority of the members of these scientific organizations and associations are hard working honest scientists (researchers, doctors, professors, etc etc). It is their Activist Leadership that have gone astray — and it is the leadership that issue proclamations and position documents without any reference to the opinions of their members.

      The members themselves are too busy trying to keep their jobs, feed their kids, get tenure, apply for grants, etc to find time to raise heck with their professional association leadership over such things. So the leadership runs amuck…..

    • Ha! The NYT suddenly found that Bernie had direct contacts with the communists and is publishing that stuff now. Of course they knew it long ago when Bernie was running against Hillary but they knew they wouldn’t have to use it to crush Bernie. Now that the DNC has decided Biden is their sacrificial lamb for the coming election it is imperative that Bernie be crushed well before the DNC convention because they don’t want a brokered convention where the more radical Bernie supporters could cause big problems. So and that is precisely what the DNC and their press is going to do. Watch it happen. Only those that they wish to lose get “vetted” and only when the what they deem to be the best time to so for maximum impact comes along.

    • Tom ==> The NY Times used to have a Public Editor to whom one could write and raise issues about inaccuracies or blatant bias in the news sections. They now have a “Readers Section” but no way to contact anyone there directly to raise any issues. One’s only recourse is to write a “Letter to the Editors” which will be selectively handled so that only praise for the Times appears in the readers section.

      Try to get the enormity of the fact the Federal Agency issued an Official Press Release calling out the near-total inaccuracy of Friedman’s November 2019 article….and the Times did not issue a correction or even mention the press release — ever.

      • “Try to get the enormity of the fact the Federal Agency issued an Official Press Release calling out the near-total inaccuracy of Friedman’s November 2019 article….and the Times did not issue a correction or even mention the press release — ever.”

        Which just confirms they are a propaganda outfit.

        It’s really a sad situation for our country. A free, honest press is essential to our personal freedoms. So much so that the press is specifically protected in the U.S. Constitution We don’t have that honest, free press now for a large percentage of the press in the U.S. One positive is at least they don’t have a monopoly on the truth like they used to have before 1996. There are some news outlets trying to report the truth if you look around.

        Unfortunately, whatever theme the NYT promotes becomes the buzzword throughout the whole press corps including conservative Fox News. The Times and the Washington Post still set the tone for the day’s news. A radical, leftwing tone.

        One of the most important things Trump is doing is destroying the credibility of the Leftwing Media. A lot fewer people automatically trust what the NYT says now.

        Trump is performing a lot of vital services for the United States.

        • This proposal made in the Oxford University Debating Chamber gives a few examples of media fails.
          Brendan O’Neill | Mainstream Media Cannot Be Trusted

  12. Whatever the proposed rule will or will not do, it will not matter anyway because it will be withdrawn come January 20, 2021, by Executive Order of President Biden.

    Trusting Trump to do science is like trusting Trump to tell the truth about any subject. A fool’s errand. Trump is the most dishonest human being in all human history. He lies to everyone all the time about everything, without exception.

    Nobody trusts the Federal government as long as Trump continues to pollute the White House and corrupt all of our national institutions.

    10 months … 13 days .. and three hours.

    • Duane ==> Of course, it is up to the American public who will be the President come January 2021…..

      The reason activists are fighting this rule so ferociously is that once the rule is in force, it will be very hard to undo it….it takes years to make a new Federal agency rule.

      The status quo is easy to maintain, but to say “Let’s go back to using Science that can’t be validated — let’s ignore the “Information Quality Act” — will not be easy — even for Democrats.

    • “10 months … 13 days .. and three hours.”

      Duane, have you noticed the voter turnout for Trump in this primary election season? He is pulling in record-breaking numbers of voters to vote for him, in every state, even though he is unopposed on the ballots. His numbers are dwarfing the Democrat numbers.

      And Trump’s numbers don’t indclude people like me who did not vote for him in the primary, but will most certainly be voting for him in the general election. So Trump’s numbers are going to be huge at that time.

      Get ready for four more years of Trump. Winning, winning, winning! At the beginning of Trump’s first term he said he was afraid that the people might get tired of winning so much, but we’re not tired of winning yet, Donald. Keep it up!

    • Gee Duane, you think presidential duties include “doing science?” You think people trusted the federal government before Trump was in office? How precious.

      There was a time when it was a big scientific deal to discover a new element to add to the periodic table. Now, it’s discovering a new gender identity.

  13. Clay ==> Thank you. The Transparency Rule is very very important for E.P.A. — to allow it to straighten out years of the use of activist produced shoddy science. Once the Transparency Rule is in place, solid scientists can begin to chip away at the encrusted nonsense that underlies so much of EPA regulation.

    • Kip
      I think the limiting of the data, methods, analysis, etc. to “experts in the subject matter” is a very worrying consideration if it means that secrecy will still pertain for the public at large. Most people may indeed be unable to understand or work with the material coherently, but who will decide who is qualified?

      Based on many things reported in WUWT, and more than a few other places, those in and of the EPA are a major part of the problem – they are political activists who care for an agenda and little or not all for facts. If insiders are in charge of who has access, in order to “protect our data from potentially hostile analysis,” changes claimed to promote transparency could be at best a good smoke screens for business as usual – just another way to shut down critics. This should be abundantly clear for all students of Climate Gate and the many incidents of blocked access to publication; just ask Richard Lindzen.

      • Andy ==> The purpose of the Transparency Rule is to allow pivotal science and pivotal studies to be “independently validated” — by people who know what they are doing. If one reads the Proposed Rule and the subsequent back-and-forth in the Supplementals, it is clear that the intention is to have the science validated by outside EPA experts who have not been involved in the original work — which would mean that EPA people who crafted regulations based on the science would be excluded from that validation..

        There is no intention to keep the underlying data from the public (except as pertains to CBI and PII) — but EPA will not be forming opinions based on some random member of the public’s opinion on the science either. Nor would I want them to.

  14. The way these things are phrased “Trump’s secret science proposal” could make the average Joe think Trump is trying to USE secret science instead of getting RID of it.

  15. Epilogue:

    I am not discouraged. Despite the repeating need to expose absolutely awful science journalism and outright advocacy by so-called journalists, I know that the effort is worth it. I have a deep personal belief that untruth damages minds and souls — and that any attempt to correct these untruths is restorative for individuals and society.

    There is a world of difference between simple differences of opinion about controversial subjects and the spreading of false ideas through intention to deceive, through inattention to detail and fact, or through the allowing of unexamined personal biases to warp one’s professional behavior. I try very hard not to pretend to know the intentions of others — that is itself false, as we cannot know the internal motivations of others — for that matter, we often have trouble understanding our own motivations. Thus, I try to just point out the inaccuracies and falsehoods in journalistic efforts.

    Journalists at the world’s Newspapers of Record have an especially high professional standard to live up to — and it is easy to see that that standard has been simply abandoned my far too many so-called seasoned journalists. They write what are essentially Opinion pieces and pass them off as hard news.

    If readers here have any media outreach, I invite you to join in in the effort to set and keep the record straight — or even if just when talking to friends and family. Stick to the facts and try not to argue about opinions, which can vary between well-meaning people.

    And, as always, Thanks for Reading.

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    • We really appreciate your efforts, Kip. If you’re ever out near Whidbey Island, I’d love to shake your hand. (with gloves, of course, Coronavirus and all 🙂 )

      • Jeff ==> I’d love to sail the Puget Sounds — but I’m afraid I’ve passed by the opportunity. My boat is in the hands of my youngest son, at St John, USVI … a Captain and Master in his own right now after thousands of miles sailing with us in his teens.

        If I get out there, I’ll get in touch……

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