The last two postings discussed an EPA regulation being imposed on coal-based power plants to reduce mercury (hg) and Air Toxics. The regulation is based on questionable/maybe fraudulent science because the full data used will not be provided to other scientists so they may verify the findings.
The use of Secret Science in the above is not the first use. From the Committee Report on the Secret Science Reform Act of 2015:
“EPA also has a record of relying on science conducted outside the Agency that is not available to the public—or to the EPA—and therefore cannot be replicated or verified by independent research- ers. For example, virtually all Clean Air Act regulations under the Obama Administration have been justified by data sets collected by two non-governmental institutions over 30 years ago, which have been withheld from the public and cannot be replicated. In 2014, Congress learned this data either no longer exists, is of such poor quality that modeling results cannot be replicated, or has not been coded to facilitate independent analysis. However, EPA continues to rely on this data to support major regulations. “
The use of peer reviewed studies does not assure that the work is valid. From the Committee report comes this:
“Aside from EPA-generated science, the Agency primarily relies on studies that have been conducted outside the Agency and peer reviewed. However, in many cases peer reviewers do not have access to underlying data and therefore cannot verify the findings of the studies under review. In 2014, a survey of experts in risk analysis and toxicology released by George Mason University found that only 16% of those surveyed said peer reviewers often or always have access to underlying data from critical studies. Moreover, peer review alone is not a sufficient check on science. In 2002, the National Research Council explained ‘‘peer review alone does not detect fraud, validate factual findings . . . or substitute for the judgments of the scientific community as a whole.’’ Further, in 2014 The Economist reported ‘‘[m]odern scientists are doing too much trusting and not enough verifying—to the detriment of the whole of science, and of humanity. Too many of the findings that fill the academic ether are the result of shoddy experiments or poor analysis.’
The Senate has introduced a Bill (S-544) that is intended to end this abuse of the public’s trust. Its charter is:
The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was referred a bill (S. 544) to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible……”.
The bill passed the Senate Committee on a party line vote of 11 to 9.
According to the Minority Report (All Democrats plus Socialist Bernard Sanders):
“The White House issued a Statement of Administrative Policy (SAP) recommending a veto threat before the House of Representatives reported out a similar bill. The SAP explains, ‘‘The bill would impose arbitrary, unnecessary, and expensive requirements that would seriously impede the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ability to use science to protect public health and the environment, as required under an array of environmental laws, while increasing uncertainty for businesses and States.’’
Some thoughts on this appalling situation.
The Bill is unlikely to become law during this Administration. The Administration cares not about the validity of the “science’ but rather they care only about pushing forward their agenda. I would like to think that the next administration would be moved to charge the people doing this with malfeasance.
Do the warmer scientists actually approve of the EPA using science that is not transparent or reproducible? It seems like they do as I am unaware of any of their voices supporting this S-544. Do they not recognize how the EPA’s actions diminish all of science?