Friday, February 13, 2015
Vilifying realist science – and scientists
Ultra-rich Green groups attack climate scientists who question “manmade climate chaos” claims
Things are not going well for Climate Chaos, Inc. The Environmental Protection Agency is implementing its carbon dioxide regulations, and President Obama wants to make more Alaska oil and gas prospects off limits. But elsewhere the climate alarm industry is under siege – and rightfully so.
Shortly after Mr. Obama warned him of imminent climate doom, Prime Minister Modi announced that India would double coal production, to bring electricity to 300 million more people. Hydraulic fracturing has launched a new era of petroleum abundance, making it harder to justify renewable energy subsidies.
Global warming predictions have become increasingly amusing, bizarre and disconnected from real-world climate and weather. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has confessed that its true goal is transforming the world’s economy and redistributing its wealth. More people are realizing that the actual problem is not climate change, which has been ongoing throughout history; it is costly policies imposed in the name of preventing change: policies that too often destroy jobs, perpetuate poverty and kill people.
Those perceptions are reinforced by recent studies that found climate researchers have systematically revised actual measured temperatures upward to fit a global warming narrative for Australia, Paraguay, the Arctic and elsewhere. Another study, “Why models run hot: Results from an irreducibly simple climate model,” concluded that, once discrepancies in IPCC computer models are taken into account, the impact of CO2-driven manmade global warming over the next century (and beyond) is likely to be “no more than one-third to one-half of the IPCC’s current projections” – that is, just 1-2 degrees C (2-4 deg F) by 2100! That’s akin to the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods and would be beneficial, not harmful.
Written by Christopher Monckton, Willie Soon, David Legates and William Briggs, the study was published in the January 2015 Science Bulletin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Incredibly, it has already received over 10,000 views – thousands more than most scientific papers ever receive.
Instead of critiquing the paper, climate alarmists attacked its authors. Climate Investigations Center executive director (and former top Greenpeace official) Kert Davies told the Boston Globe it “simply cannot be true” that the authors have no conflict of interest over their study, considering their alleged industry funding sources and outside consulting fees. Davies singled out Dr. Willie Soon, saying the Harvard researcher received more than $1 million from companies that support studies critical of manmade climate change claims. An allied group launched a petition drive to have Dr. Soon fired.
Davies’ libelous assertions have no basis in fact. Not one of these four authors received a dime in grants or other payments for researching and writing their climate models paper. Every one of them did the work on his own time. The only money contributed to the Science Bulletin effort went to paying the “public access” fees, so that people could read their study for free.
I know these men and their work. Their integrity and devotion to the scientific method are beyond reproach. They go where their research takes them and refuse to bend their science or conclusions to secure grants, toe a particular line on global warming, or fit industry, government or other viewpoints.
Regarding Dr. Soon’s supposed “track record of accepting energy-industry grants,” the $1 million over a period of years went to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, which took around 40% of the total off the top, for “overhead.” The details are all open public records. Not a dime went to this paper.
But since Davies raised the issues of money, conflicts of interest, failures to disclose financing, and how money supposedly influences science – let us explore those topics from the other side of the fence.
Climate Crisis, Inc. has a huge vested interest in climate alarmism – not merely part of $1 million over a ten-year span, but hundreds of billions of dollars in government, industry, foundation and other money during the past couple decades. Some of it is open and transparent, but much is hidden and suspect.
Between 2003 and 2010, the US government alone spent over $105 billion in taxpayer funds on climate and renewable energy projects. The European Union and other entities spent billions more. Most of the money went to modelers, scientists, other researchers and their agencies and universities; to renewable energy companies for subsidies and loan guarantees on projects that receive exemptions from endangered species and human health laws and penalties that apply to fossil fuel companies; and even to environmental pressure groups that applaud these actions, demand more and drive public policies.
Billions more went to government regulators, who coordinate many of these activities and develop regulations that are often based on secretive, deceptive pre-ordained “science,” sue-and-settle lawsuits devised by con artist John Beale, and other tactics. Politicians receive millions in campaign cash and in-kind help from these organizations and their unions, to keep them in office and the gravy train on track.
The American Lung Association supports EPA climate policies – but never mentions its $25 million in EPA grants over the past 15 years. Overall, during this time, the ALA received 591 federal grants totaling $43 million, Big Green foundations bankrolled it with an additional $76 million, and EPA paid $181 million to 15 of its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee members who regularly vote with it.
Far-left donors like the David and Lucille Packard Foundation (computers), Schmidt Family Foundation (Google), Rockefeller Brothers Fund (oil), Marisla Foundation (oil) and Wallace Global Fund II (farming) support Greenpeace and other groups that use climate change to justify anti-energy, anti-people policies. A gas company CEO and New York mayor gave Sierra Club $76 million for its anti-coal campaign.
For years, Greenpeace has used Desmogblog, ExxonSecrets, Polluterwatch and other front-group websites to attack scientists and others who challenge its tactics and policies. Greenpeace USA alone had income totaling $32,791,149 in 2012, Ron Arnold and I note in Cracking Big Green.
Other U.S. environmental pressure groups driving anti-job, anti-people climate policies also had fat-cat 2012 incomes: Environmental Defense Fund ($111,915,138); Natural Resources Defense Council ($98,701,707); Sierra Club ($97,757,678); National Audubon Society ($96,206,883); Wilderness Society ($24,862,909); and Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection ($19,150,215). All told, more than 16,000 American environmental groups collect total annual revenues of over $13.4 billion (2009 figures). Only a small part of that comes from membership dues and individual contributions.
As Richard Rahn and Ron Arnold point out, another major source of their cash is Vladimir Putin’s Russia. A well-documented new Environmental Policy Alliance report shows how tens of millions of dollars from Russian interests apparently flowed from Bermuda-based Wakefield Quinn through environmental bundlers, including the Sea Change Foundation, into major eco-pressure groups like the Sierra Club, NRDC and League of Conservation Voters. Former White House counsel John Podesta’s Center for American Progress also took millions from Sea Change.
It gets even more outrageous. One of the websites attacking Dr. Soon is funded by George Soros; it works hard to gag meteorologists who disagree with climate alarmists. And to top it off, Davies filed a FOIA request against Dr. Soon and six other climate scientists, demanding that they release all their emails and financial records. But meanwhile he keeps his Climate Investigations Center funding top secret (the website is registered to Greenpeace and the Center is known to be a Rainbow Warriors front group) – and the scientists getting all our taxpayer money claim their raw data, computer codes and CO2-driven algorithms are private property, and exempt from FOIA and even U.S. Congress requests.
By all means, let’s have honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability – in our climate science and government regulatory processes. Let’s end the conflicts of interest, have robust debates, and ensure that sound science (rather than government, foundation or Russian cash) drives our public laws and policies.
And let’s begin where the real money and power are found.
WH Spokesman: Climate Change Affects More People Daily Than Terrorism
White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Tuesday doubled down on President Barack Obama’s comments that climate change is a greater threat than terrorism.
“The point that the president is making is that there are many more people on an annual basis who have to confront the impact – the direct impact – on their lives of climate change or on the spread of disease than on terrorism,” Earnest said when asked if the president was saying that the threat of climate change is greater than the threat of terrorism.
In an interview with the liberal news website Vox, the president was asked, “Do you think the media sometimes overstates the sort of level of alarm people should have about terrorism and this kind of chaos as opposed to a longer term problem like climate change and epidemic disease?
“Absolutely,” Obama said, “and I don’t blame the media for that. What’s the famous saying about local newscasts, right, if it bleeds, it leads, right? You show crime stories, and you show fires, because that’s what folks watch.
“It’s all about ratings, and the problems of terrorism and dysfunction and chaos along with plane crashes and a few other things, that’s the equivalent when it comes to covering international affairs.
Obama said stories about cutting the infant mortality and slashing extreme poverty don’t generate a lot of interest.
“It’s not a sexy story, and climate change is happening at such a broad scale and such a complex system that it’s a hard story for the media to tell on a day-to-day basis,” he said.
“The point is this: my first job is to protect the American people. It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris,” Obama added, referring to the hostage standoff in January in which four Jewish people died at the hands a gunman whom took part in the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices.
When asked to clarify Earnest’s answer, he repeated that climate change directly impacts the lives of Americans on a daily basis more so than terrorism.
“So the answer’s yes, the president thinks that climate change is a greater threat than terrorism?” a reporter asked Earnest.
“I think that the point that the president is making is that when you’re talking about the direct daily impact of these kinds of challenges on the daily lives of Americans … Americans living in this country, that that direct impact is more, that more people are directly affected by those things than by terrorism,” said Earnest.
“So climate change is more of a clear and present danger to the United States than terrorism?” the reporter asked again.
“I think even the Department of Defense has spoken to the significant threat that climate change poses to our national security interests, principally because of the impact that it can have on countries with less well developed infrastructure than we have,” Earnest said.
“I’m not asking if it’s a significant threat. I’m asking if it’s a greater threat,” the reporter said.
“Again, I wouldn’t have a whole lot more to say about what the president has said in that interview,” Earnest responded.
As CNSNews.com previously reported, National Security Adviser Susan Rice in a speech at the Brookings Institution last week, said part of the president’s national security strategy is fighting “the very real threat of climate change” as well as promoting gay rights.
“American leadership is addressing the very real threat of climate change,” Rice said. “The science is clear.
“The impacts of climate change will only worsen over time,” she said. “Even longer droughts; more severe storms; more forced migration.”
Charlie Daniels: 'Global Warming' is a Scare Tactic Predicated on a Lie
Charlie is well known as a country music performer
When Al Gore released his “An Inconvenient Truth” movie a few years ago he opened up a can of worms that crawl the earth to this day.
Let me preface this column by first of all admitting that I don't believe in man-made global warming – that the temperature of this and every other planet is controlled by the hand of the Creator – and that it is arrogant for man to think he could assume that role for either bad or good purposes.
I do not deny that the earth warms and cools, but that is a natural occurrence that has taken place since the earth was created and will continue as long as the world exists.
My source, The Holy Bible: "As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." – Genesis 8:22.
Thus has it been, and thus shall it ever be, as long as earth endures. And though man can certainly contribute to making the earth a better place to live, he will never be able to bring the global temperature up or down by as much as one degree, greenhouse gases and other factors notwithstanding.
Now the name of the “problem” has been changed from “global warming” to “climate change,” an innocuous title that can be stretched in either direction to accommodate a record snowfall or a record heat wave, and any of a number of natural geological anomalies can be incorporated into the catch-all "climate change."
For over one hundred years the global warming, global cooling, climate change crowd have vacillated several times between global heat that would melt the polar ice caps and global freezing that would bring on a new ice age.
Please don't take my word for this or any of the rest of the information I use in this column, as it is easily accessible. Just do some research on your own.
First of all, global warming, climate change, or whatever the nom du jour, has little to do with the weather on Planet Earth and almost everything to do with scaring the heck out of the population so they will be willing to allow global bureaucracies and enforcement agencies to be created to deal with it – all at our expense, naturally.
So who do they come after? Why the most ecologically compliant nations who just happen to be the most prosperous nations on earth, all but ignoring the real offenders of China, Russia, India, practically all of the oil rich Middle East, the destitute nations of Africa, where almost continual war has created deforestation and, in turn, dust bowls and unmanageable refugee problems.
They show you heart-tugging pictures of struggling polar bears floating around on little ice islands, never telling you that this is normal behavior for polar bears, which are capable of swimming 75 to 100 miles and go wherever the food is, never stymied by open water.
They tell you that it's "settled science," knowing full well that two out of the three imminent, world class scientists at the recent Mombasa conference disputed the "settled science."
They don't tell you that the Global Historical Climate Network, a U.S. Government entity, has been adjusting the temperature findings to reflect a warming trend. Proven by Paul Homewood, who recorded the actual temperatures in several locations and found them to reflect different numbers than the ones reported by the GHCN.
They want you to forget about the leaked emails from the UK’s University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, which show that these climate researchers were conspiring to “adjust” temperatures up and down in their findings to support the claims of man-made warming.
In a perfect world, an administration that was motivated by truly serving the American public rather than trying to gain more power would have exposed this and punished the guilty parties.
And folks, that's what this whole thing is about – globalization, income redistribution and centralization of power, control over every aspect of public and personal life. It’s a scare tactic, predicated on a lie and promoted by the same people who assured you that "there's not a smidgen of corruption at the IRS;" that "you can keep your own doctor, period;" that ISIS was a “JV team."
The theory so soundly endorsed by Al Gore and his ilk is falling apart, but you aren't likely to read about it in the “New York Times” or see a CBS special on the subject. So if you want the truth just start digging around for yourself.
Check the history of the movement. Check all of the latest findings, and consider what the politicians pushing this hoax have to gain and what you and your kids and grandkids have to lose.
Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem. God Bless America
Obama Opposes Even Clean Coal
The Obama administration’s decision to cut funding for the world’s first nearly zero-emissions coal plant is just the latest sign that U.S. energy policy has succumbed to wishful thinking rather than sober analysis of global energy realities.
FutureGen, to be built in Illinois, was going to be the first full-scale demonstration of a process to capture carbon dioxide from a coal plant and bury it underground. The deployment of carbon capture and storage technology has long been singled out by the U.S. Department of Energy, the International Energy Agency and numerous other energy organizations as critical to meeting international climate goals.
Despite the administration’s action, the development of advanced technologies to burn coal with near-zero emissions remains critical to both America’s energy future and the world’s. The reason is simple enough—coal is here to stay.
Coal’s importance and use globally is at an all-time high. China is a case in point. It is currently burning nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined. China’s coal plant fleet is two and a half times the size of ours—and coal is vitally important here at home. Despite administration efforts to shut them down, coal-fired power plants still generate about 40 percent of our nation’s electricity.
What’s more, the United States has the world’s largest coal reserves and a mining technology and workforce that rank second to none. No president, especially one who wants us to take the lead in addressing climate change, should turn his back on coal.
The current administration should allow demonstration projects like FutureGen to go forward, since they could lead to a technological leap that brings down the cost of producing electricity from clean coal. Some of the techniques that could accomplish this include washing chemicals from coal and better ways of removing carbon from flue gases.
But the administration’s strategy leaves no room for hope or change. It not only has abandoned FutureGen, but current policy is detrimental to environmental efforts to use coal more wisely.
Rather than finding ways to burn coal without loading the atmosphere with carbon that could be emulated by other countries, the administration’s so-called Clean Power Plan provides no realistic model for the world. By requiring a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2030 (compared with 2005 levels), the administration’s action would push hundreds of the nation’s coal plants into early retirement.
The anti-coal policy is a mistake for several reasons. It will drive up electricity costs; a prominent economic consulting firm’s study forecasts double-digit jumps in electricity rates in 43 states. Compliance with the Clean Power Plan will cost consumers and businesses a whopping $41 billion per year. Thousands of coal miners will be laid off. And all of this will happen without making a dent in climate change. The carbon problem is global. Progress won’t come without U.S. leadership on advanced clean coal technologies.
Under Obama’s plan, U.S. emissions reductions will be quickly offset by a rise in carbon emissions overseas. If the president thinks other nations, particularly developing economies in Asia, will follow our lead and abandon coal, he’s very wrong.
The Asian Development Bank recently estimated that coal plants would generate 83 percent of electricity in Asia and the Pacific Rim by 2035. In India, where 300 million people still have no access to electricity and where an emerging middle class is using more power than ever, electricity demand is expected to triple by 2030. India’s energy minister, Piyush Goyal, has not minced words. He recently said, “India’s development imperatives cannot be sacrificed at the altar of potential climate changes many years in the future.” India’s coal consumption is expected to leapfrog ours in just five years.
Obama’s absurd view of how to tackle the challenge of rising carbon emissions poses a real threat to the U.S. economy. And his unwillingness to accept the growing global importance of coal and put the strength of American innovation behind advanced clean-coal technology is unforgivable.
A valentine for fossil fuels
By Jeff Jacoby
ROMANTICS MAY look forward to sharing their love this weekend, but as far as the organizers of Global Divestment Day are concerned, Valentine’s Day is for breaking up.
Environmental activists have designated February 13 and 14 for collective action “to sever our ties with the fossil fuel industry whose plans will destroy the planet as we know it.” To intensify hostility toward oil, coal, and natural gas companies — which the divestment movement’s godfather, climate militant Bill McKibben, labels “Public Enemy Number One” — the Fossil Free campaign urges individuals to stop doing business with banks or pension funds that invest in fossil fuels, and encourages college students on college campuses to put pressure on administrators to rid their endowment funds of holdings in traditional energy corporations.
“Fossil fuel investments are a risk for investors and the planet,” the activists claim, so it is imperative to “loosen the grip that coal, oil, and gas companies have on our government and financial markets.” The fact that fossil-fuel stocks have generally performed well for funds investing in them is beside the point. “If it’s wrong to wreck the planet, then it’s also wrong to profit from that wreckage.”
Wreck the planet?
What sort of wreckage is it that has divestment advocates up in arms? Increases in deadly floods and droughts? Rising levels of air pollution? Fewer sources of clean drinking water? Catastrophic depletion of nonrenewable energy sources? Less forest cover and more deserts?
If the use of carbon-based fuels were indeed causing such havoc, who could blame passionate environmentalists for declaring war on the industry that produces those fuels? But if their outrage over the “wreckage” of the planet is sincere, it’s hard not to wonder, in the spirit of former Congressman Barney Frank, on what planet they spend most of their time.
Here on Planet Earth, the booming use of petroleum, coal, and natural gas, has fueled an almost inconceivable amount of good. All human technologies generate costs as well as benefits, but the gains from the use of fossil fuels have been extraordinary. The energy derived from fossil fuels, economist Robert Bradley Jr. wrote last spring in Forbes, has “liberated mankind from wretched poverty; fueled millions of high-productivity jobs in nearly every business sector; been a feedstock for medicines that have saved countless lives; and led to the development of fertilizers that have greatly increased crop yields to feed the hungry.” Far from wrecking the planet, the harnessing of carbon-based energy makes it safer and more livable.
The rise of fossil fuels has led to dramatic gains in human progress — whether that progress is measured in terms of life expectancy, income, education, health, sanitation, transportation, or leisure. Nearly everything that is comfortable and convenient about modern civilization depends on the ready availability of energy, and nearly 90 percent of our energy comes from oil, gas, and coal. Pro-divestment activists know better than to push people to give up electricity, air travel, computers, or central heating — all of which would vanish without the fossil fuel industry. Instead they demonize the industry, reasoning that it will be easier to turn Big Oil into a pariah than to convince the public to abandon its cars and smartphones.
Such “fossil-free” zealotry is justified in the name of climate change and its hazards. Yet as Alex Epstein documents in a dazzling new book, “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” never have human beings been as protected from climate-related danger as they are right now. “As CO2 emissions rise, climate-related deaths plunge,” Epstein writes. Diving deep into the data, he illuminates the strong correlation between the expanding reliance on fossil fuels and the diminishing threat to human lives from climate disaster.
To cite just one of the book’s many examples, drought — historically the foremost climate-related killer — has ceased to be a major cause of death. Worldwide, the death toll from drought “has gone down by 99.98 percent in the last 80 years for many energy-related reasons,” notes Epstein. Not the least of those reasons are oil-powered drought-relief convoys and the huge increase in global food supplies thanks to “fossil fuel-based agriculture and irrigation systems.” Deaths from floods, storms, wildfires, temperature extremes? All down sharply, even as carbon-based energy use has soared.
It is much the same for all those other ways in which the use of coal, oil, and gas is supposedly “wrecking” the planet. Air and water quality are strikingly improved. The amount of forest cover and other greenery is burgeoning. Proven fossil-fuel reserves have never been greater.
Ours is a much safer, richer, cleaner, healthier planet than it would ever have been without fossil fuels. Break up with the industry that makes our energy so abundant? Sending a valentine would make more sense.
EPA Under Fire for Concealing Controversial Scientific Data, Silencing Skeptics
For more than 15 years, the Environmental Protection Agency has resisted releasing data from two key studies to the general public and members of Congress. Government regulators used those studies to craft some of the most expensive environmental rules in U.S. history.
When skeptics within the federal government questioned and challenged the integrity of the studies—the Harvard Six Cities Study and an American Cancer Society study known as ACS II—they were silenced and muzzled.
That’s when the Republican staff on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee stepped in to shine light on the situation, revealing the scope of the scandal in in a report titled, “EPA’s Playbook Unveiled: A Story of Fraud, Deceit and Secret Science.”
The key player in the scandal is John Beale, who was sentenced to serve 32 months in federal prison on Dec. 18, 2013, after pleading guilty to stealing almost $900,000 from U.S. taxpayers.
It was in 1994 that Beale first began to beguile EPA employees and supervisors into believing he worked for the CIA. When he failed to report for work, Beale would enter “D.O. Oversight” on his calendar, which meant he was a director of operations responsible for covert operations at the CIA.
But it was the role Beale played beginning in the mid-1990s in creating and implementing regulations pursuant to Clean Air Act that continues to reverberate and linger at the expense of the American people.
Two Allies at the EPA
Over the past decade, evidence has emerged to reveal the Six Cities and ACS II studies did not support enacting one of the most controversial, far-reaching and expensive regulations in American history. Otherwise, the agency would have provided access to the data without a fight.
The political appointees who led the EPA at the time feared the consequences of enacting such a regulation without being able to offer scientific evidence of its necessity.
Beale needed an ally. He needed someone to explain the problems with the research and the reasons the data could not be released. Someone who could run interference with various actors in Washington. He found one in top EPA official Robert Brenner.
Brenner had recruited Beale, his former Princeton University classmate, to the EPA as a full-time employee in 1989.
Brenner, then deputy director of the EPA’s Office of Policy Analysis and Review within the Office of Air and Radiation, hired his friend despite Beale’s lack of legislative or environmental policy background. He also placed Beale in the highest pay scale for general service employees—a move typically reserved for those with extensive experience.
He then allowed Beale to collect retention bonuses, which go to only the most highly qualified employees to keep them from jumping ship—an unlikely scenario for a man who had picked apples and worked in a small-time law firm in Minnesota before joining the agency. Employees are supposed to be eligible for such bonuses—potentially worth as much as a fourth of the employee’s annual salary—for only three years, but Brenner helped Beale receive them for more than 10.
The two would work together at the EPA for 25 years—during which time the Office of Policy Analysis and Review would grow “in both scope and influence” as Beale and Brenner worked in tandem to muzzle dissenting voices within the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) and the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee.
‘Beale Memo’ Details Regulatory Agenda
At the crux of their agenda—the initiative that would build their legend within the agency—was implementation of a fine particle standard regulating air pollution.
The formula had been set with the American Lung Association sue-and-settle agreement and codified in a confidential document known as the “Beale Memo,” which described how Beale pressured regulatory and clean air bodies to back off criticisms of EPA rulemaking both within the agency and in correspondence with members of Congress.
The EPA attempted to conceal this document from Sen. David Vitter’s committee investigators, but a conscientious whistleblower “turned it over surreptitiously,” the report said.
The memo outlined how Beale and Brenner would work to compress the time the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and the voluntary Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee had to review regulations so they could get away with using “secret science.”
The Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee opposed from the start the move to regulate fine particulate matter. Members claimed there was no precedent or court order to establish these regulations, that research had not distinguished between dangers posed by PM 10 particles and those a fourth that size under PM 2.5, and that the PM 2.5 target was arbitrary and tied to no known science. (PM stands for particle matter, a term “for particles found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets,” according to EPA.)
Further, the committee, known as CASAC, complained it was being asked to do the work that took eight years on the previous air quality review in 18 months.
“The Beale memo is interesting in that it provides evidence of Beale’s direct role in ensuring concerns raised by other agencies, CASAC members and OIRA were not considered in the final rulemaking,” wrote Luke Bolar, spokesman for Vitter, in an email to The Daily Signal.
“While there were major concerns with the science and the cost-benefit analysis as outlined in comments filed on the rule, the Beale memo was written to push back against OIRA publicizing those concerns,” Bolar added. “They didn’t have to directly ‘blunt’ criticism, as Beale got his way through his close ties to Mary Nichols (then head of the Office of Air and Radiation) and Carol Browner (EPA administrator.”
Efforts to slow Beale, Brenner and their highly charged regulations failed. As a result, today the “co-benefits” of PM 2.5 are used to justify almost the entirety of the Obama administration’s air quality initiatives even though the immediate benefits still have yet to be proven.
“There is no watchdog now inside the EPA,” laments Steve Milloy, the former editor of JunkScience.com, which has posted a fact sheet that debunks the EPA’s PM 2.5 claims. “Whatever the EPA wants it gets. The agency is allowed to run rampant. There was a time when OIRA use to have stopping power, but now it’s just ignored. OIRA has become a rubber stamp.”
This is especially true of PM 2.5, Milloy says. “There is no real world evidence” PM 2.5 has caused sudden or long-term death, he said. “The claim that PM 2.5 kills people is at the heart and soul of how the EPA is selling these regulations. But it’s a claim that’s not supported by the facts or evidence. The EPA has rigged the whole process.”
Indeed, the purported co-benefits have become the benefits, according to Vitter’s report.
“Historically, EPA used co-benefits in major rules as one of several benefits quantified to justify a rule in the RIA,” the report says. “Yet, at the beginning of the Obama administration, there was a ‘trend towards almost complete reliance on PM 2.5-related health co-benefits.’ Instead of being an ancillary benefit, EPA started using PM 2.5 co-benefits as essentially the only quantified benefit for many CAA regulations.”
The Senate report claims all but five air pollution rules crafted between 2009 and 2011 listed PM 2.5.
Lack of Transparency at EPA
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set air quality standards to protect public health with an “adequate margin of safety.” In its review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, the EPA considers factors such as the nature and severity of health effects, the size of the at-risk groups affected and the science.
Several exhaustive scientific reviews prior and subsequent to the 1997 standards were conducted following open, public processes that allowed for public review and comment prior to updating the standards.
EPA press secretary Liz Purchia told The Daily Signal in an email that the process is open enough.
The National Ambient Air Quality Standards are bolstered by “sound science and legal standards,” she said, and “several exhaustive scientific reviews prior and subsequent to the 1997 standards were conducted following open, public processes that allowed for public review and comment prior to updating the standards.”
Beale’s involvement in no way undermines the rational basis for the agency’s decisions nor the integrity of the administrative process. Reducing the public’s exposure to ground-level ozone and PM protects millions of Americans from costly and dangerous illness, hospitalization, and premature death.
All that may be true, but the EPA still won’t provide the underlying data to put the matter to rest.
Vitter and his team say this is because the EPA can continue to overstate the benefits and understate the costs of federal regulations—just as Beale did in the 1990s.
“This technique has been applied over the years and burdens the American people today, as up to 80 percent of the benefits associated with all federal regulations are attributed to supposed PM 2.5 reductions,” the report states.
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Posted by JR at 1:37 AM