EPA head: We don’t need to justify our regulations with data

Written by Thomas Richard, examiner.com

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy took a drumming yesterday when she refused to release the ‘secret science’ her agency used when drafting new regulations. mccarthy testimony Testifying before the House Science, Space and Technology committee, Rep. Lamar Smith (R) began the Q&A by asking McCarthy why she wouldn’t release the studies and data in which her regulations are based. Rep. Smith told McCarthy that his ‘secret science’ reform act would make the data public without interfering in the EPA’s primary job and maintaining the confidentiality of third parties.

Rep. Smith also quoted Obama’s science adviser, John Holdren, saying “The data on which regulatory decisions are based should be made available to the committee and should be made public. Why don’t you agree with the president’s science adviser?” McCarthy replied that while she supports transparency in the regulatory process, the bill would make public the personal information of the people working on the science.

Smith reiterated that in his secret science reform act, personal information would be redacted but the underlying studies and data that are being used to justify costly regulations would be made public so that other scientists and the American people can review it. This is especially important as the EPA has a 60-day comment period after a new proposal is issued, but the science behind the new regulations is not included. Smith’s new bill would rectify that issue.

McCarthy also said she “doesn’t actually need the raw data in order to develop science. That’s not how it’s done.”

Rep. Smith: “But why don’t you give us the data you have and why can’t you get that data you do have? Surely you have the data that you based the regulations on?”
McCarthy: “EPA actually has the authority and the need to actually get information that we have provided to you.”
Rep. Smith: “You’re saying you can’t give us the information because it is personal and then you’re saying you don’t have the information. Which is it?”
McCarthy: “There is much information we don’t have the authority to release.”

Rep. Smith reiterated again that any personal information would be redacted and once again asked why she won’t release this information after meeting all the criteria McCarthy used to justify not revealing the information. Rep. Smith reminded her that every other agency does this, so why can’t the EPA simply redact this personal information and release the underlying science on which the EPA’s regulations are based?

McCarthy stressed that the science is generated through the peer-reviewed process and not by the agency itself, prompting Rep. Smith to say that by not showing the American people and the Congress the studies and data they used to make new regulations, it looks like the EPA has something to hide. Rep. Smith said there was no good reason other scientists couldn’t review the data, no good reason his committee couldn’t review it, and most important, the American people can’t review it.

Changing topics, Rep. Smith asked McCarthy about the Clean Power Plan, reminding her that after spending enormous amounts of money and implementing burdensome regulations, increasing the costs of electricity that would hurt the poorest Americans, it would only lower global temperatures 1/100 of a degree. “How do you justify such an expensive, burdensome, onerous rule that isn’t going to do much good?…Isn’t this all pain and no gain?”

McCarthy admitted the goal of the Clean Power Plan was to show strong domestic action which can trigger strong global action, e.g., getting other countries to follow our lead. McCarthy refused to say if Rep. Smith’s analysis of the minuscule effect on global temperatures was correct, stating again it was more about leading on a global scale. She also refused to give Rep. Smith a timetable on when he could expect supporting documentation that he had been requesting for months.

Later in the hearing, Rep Dana Rohrabacher (R) was shocked that McCarthy did not have any idea what percentage of the atmosphere was made up of carbon dioxide (CO2). Stunned by this admission, Rohrabacher said, “You’re head of the EPA and you did not know? …Now you are basing policies that impact dramatically on the American people and you didn’t know what the content of CO2 in the atmosphere was… the justification for the very policies you’re talking about?”

McCarthy: “If you’re asking me how much CO2 is in the atmosphere, not a percentage but how much, we have just reached levels of 400 parts per million.”
Rohrabacher: “I think I was very clear on what I was asking. I think it was very clear you didn’t know.”

This is not the first time McCarthy has flunked knowing basic science. In a Senate hearing in March, McCarthy was unaware of climate data showing no increase in extreme weather. At that hearing, she was asking for additional money be dedicated to the president’s controversial Clean Power Plan, an initiative to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that are blamed for any type of bad weather.

As previously reported here, carbon dioxide levels reached a global level of 400 parts per million (ppm) in March, even though global temperatures have not risen for nearly 19 years. You can find 400 carbon dioxide molecules per one million parts of dry air. By volume, “dry air contains 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039% carbon dioxide (.04% in March 2015), and small amounts of other gases.” Carbon dioxide levels vary between 390 and 400 ppm and change seasonally as more plant life is around to absorb it in the spring and summer.

Complete video of her testimony can be seen here.

Read more by Thomas Richard at www.examiner.com

Comments (4)

  • Avatar

    Peter

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    All of the data regarding CO2 speak of”dry air”. This ignores the huge effect water vapor has in changing the specific heat value for “air”. Rather than CO2, there should be more attention on the increases in H2O vapor due to irrigation and other agricultural activities. I purpose that this has more impact on temperature changes than CO2.

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    Mervyn

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    Gina McCarthy is typical of the sort of non-elected US bureaucrats that have enormous power without effective accountability.

    What astounds me, under the American system, is that she can dictate to Congress rather than the other way round. Contrast that to bureaucrats under the Westminster system of government.

  • Avatar

    Aw Shucks

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    What they call science is based upon one assumption about Carbon Dioxide. Then from this molehill, they build assumptions upon assumptions (errors upon errors) and they still believe that they are the true scientific authority upon the subject? These kind of comments merely demonstrate that the EPA is a political body and not what they claim to be, IMO

  • Avatar

    Greg House

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    This is a dead end, I am afraid. Such questions were asked in the past and EPA referred to the IPCC reports which are based on peer reviewed papers. The papers based on “global temperature” and “greenhouse effect” are BS to me, but EPA has a formal justification.

    Without questioning the climate science there is no chance of winning a scientific debate. Rep. Smith did not do that, instead he accepted the idea that “CO2 warms the world” which is the foundation of climate scare and has nothing to do with reality. He read too much pseudo-skeptical blogs, I am afraid.

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