I guess all those promises Gina McCarthy made to Congress about producing the Harvard Six City and Pope/ACS study data were all lies.
The McCarthy/McCabe op-ed is below. My comments are in [bolded brackets].
A couple of other points:
- Gina McCarthy promised Congress she would turn over the data in question. She never did.
- McCarthy is now at Harvard and is a colleague of Harvard Six-City data-hider Doug Dockery.
You do the math.
Scott Pruitt’s Attack on Science Would Paralyze the E.P.A.
By Gina McCarthy and Janet G. McCabe
March 26, 2018
Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has announced that he alone will decide what is and isn’t acceptable science for the agency to use when developing policies that affect your health and the environment. [EPA administrators and staff have been doing this since the beginning of EPA. In 2000, for example, Clinton EPA Administrator Carol Browner unilaterally banned the use of clincial studies under the guise of ethics in order to remove the insecticide Dursban (chlorpyrifos) from store shelves.]
It is his latest effort to cripple the agency. [Not “cripple” — “rein in the out-of-control.”] Mr. Pruitt, who as Oklahoma’s attorney general described himself as “a leading advocate against the E.P.A.’s activist agenda,” said in an interview published in The Daily Caller last week that he would no longer allow the agency to use studies that include nonpublic scientific data to develop rules to safeguard public health and prevent pollution. [Not “safeguard. “Overregulate.”]
Opponents of the agency [No. We are opponents of abusive, overregulation.] and of mainstream climate science [Uh… red herring… secret science has nothing to do with climate science.”] call these studies “secret science.” But that’s simply not true. Peer review ensures that the analytic methodologies underlying studies funded by the agency are sound. [Pal — not peer — review at EPA.]
Some of those studies, particularly those that determine the effects of exposure to chemicals and pollution on health, rely on medical records that by law are confidential because of patient privacy policies. [False. No medical records involved.] These studies summarize the analysis of raw data and draw conclusions based on that analysis. Other government agencies also use studies like these to develop policy and regulations, and to buttress and defend rules against legal challenges. They are, in fact, essential to making sound public policy. [Weak association epidemiology does not make for sound public policy.]
The agency also relies on industry data to develop rules on chemical safety that is often kept confidential for business reasons. [CBI is a completely separate issue. No business reasons for Doug Dockery and Arden Pope keeping their data secret for 20+ years.]
For instance, foundational epidemiological research into the effects of air pollution on health by scientists at Harvard and the American Cancer Society established a clear connection between exposure to fine particles and increased mortality. [False. Read “Scare Pollution” for full PM2.5 story.] This research led to further studies that supported the development of air quality standards and rules requiring industry to reduce pollution, improving health and reducing costs for millions of Americans. [No one’s health has been improved by these studies and the regulations that followed. No one’s.]
Yet, because the personal health data associated with individuals participating in the studies were obtained with guarantees of confidentiality, Mr. Pruitt apparently would have argued for those studies to be tossed out had he been at the helm then. [There are no privacy issues with these data. This is a red herring.]
The E.P.A. administrator simply can’t make determinations on what science is appropriate in rule-making without calling into question decisions by other federal agencies based on similar kinds of studies, including on the safety and efficacy of pharmaceuticals, and research into cancer and other diseases. All rely to some extent on data from individual health records. If one agency rejects studies based on that sort of data, it could open up policies by other agencies based on similar studies to challenge. [All alarmist nonsense meant to put pressure on Pruitt. Secret data has no place in regulation.]
Mr. Pruitt — who is a lawyer, not a scientist — told The Daily Caller: “We need to make sure their data and methodology are published as part of the record. Otherwise, it’s not transparent. It’s not objectively measured, and that’s important.” [Uh… neither op-ed authors Gina McCarthy not Janet McCabe are scientists.]
We don’t have the details of the new policy. But don’t be fooled by this talk of transparency. He and some conservative members of Congress are setting up a nonexistent problem in order to prevent the E.P.A. from using the best available science. [The coal industry was devastated by EPA-funded researchers who have kept their data hidden since 1994. How is that a “nonexistent problem”?] These studies adhere to all professional standards and meet every expectation of the scientific community in terms of peer review and scientific integrity. [I’d like to say that these studies merely fall below professional standards, but they are just plain vanilla fraud.] In the case of the air pollution studies, a rigorous follow-up examination was done by the Health Effects Institute, a nonprofit research group that studies air pollution. The institute corroborated the findings. [False. HEI never got the data, is half-funded by EPA (i.e., not independent) and the so-called “re-analysis” was done by EPA-funded cronies.]
In taking this action, Mr. Pruitt appears to be adopting the policies of the Honest and Open New E.P.A. Science Treatment Act, a bill aimed at the agency. Conservative lawmakers have tried to pass versions of this bill before to shackle the agency’s rule making. [Nope. Just trying to get the data for independent replication.] That law would prohibit the E.P.A. from taking any action “unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support” it is “specifically identified, and publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results.” [Transparent science. Quel horreur!]
An analysis of a similar bill introduced in 2015 by the Congressional Budget Office estimated it would cost $250 million a year over the first few years to carry out because it would require new “data collection, correspondence and coordination with study authors, construction of a database to house necessary information, and public dissemination” of the information. [More BS. It would cost virtually nothing to hand over the data.]
The analysis, which did not appear to take into account the cost of redacting details like trade secrets or personally identifiable medical information, also predicted the agency would reduce by half the number of studies it relies on in developing policies and regulations because of the cost of complying with the law. [There is no medical privacy issue with these data.]
“The quality of the agency’s work would be compromised if that work relies on a significantly smaller collection of scientific studies,” the analysis found. [Does it get much worse than regulating based on fraud?]
This approach would undermine the nation’s scientific credibility. [Science should not be based on fraud.] And should Mr. Pruitt reconsider regulations now in place, this new policy could be a catalyst for the unraveling of existing public health protections if the studies used to justify them could no longer be used by E.P.A. [The PM2.5 regulations protect no one’s health.]
So why would he want to prohibit his own agency from using these studies? It’s not a mystery. Time and again the Trump administration has put the profits of regulated industries over the health of the American people. Fundamental research on the effects of air pollution on public health has long been a target of those who oppose the E.P.A.’s air quality regulations, like the rule that requires power plants to reduce their mercury emissions. [Another red herring. The studies are not banned if the data is produced for independent replication.]
Mr. Pruitt’s goal is simple: No studies, no data, no rules. No climate science, for instance, means no climate policy. [Climate science is relevant to the secret science issue. Hard to know whether Gina McCarthy and Janet McCabe are really this dumb or just lying.]
If a tree falls in the forest, we know it makes a sound, even if people aren’t there to hear it. When people are exposed to mercury, lead or other air- and waterborne pollutants, we know their health is affected, whether or not E.P.A. is allowed to use the scientific studies that confirm those health impacts. [No one’s health is at risk from the banning of science fraud.]
This policy no doubt will become a matter of litigation. It will be interesting to hear the agency defend Mr. Pruitt’s view that peer-reviewed studies that meet every standard for proper scientific method and integrity should not be considered in drafting policies and regulations that regulate threats to the environment. [Can’t wait for litigation. The Obama EPA fraud will be adjudicated as such.]
Representative Bill Foster, a physicist and Democrat from Illinois, has argued that “scientists should set the standards for research, not politicians.” [Providing data upon request for replication purposes is the scientific standard.]
We couldn’t agree more. Scientific research provides factual support for policies that reduce exposure to pollution and protect the American people from costly and dangerous illnesses and premature deaths. Under Mr. Pruitt’s approach to science, the E.P.A. would be turning its back on its mandate to “protect human health and the environment.” [McCarthy and McCabe are scoundrels hiding behind public ignorance and their own lies.]
Gina McCarthy was the E.P.A. administrator from 2013 to 2017. Janet G. McCabe was acting assistant administrator of the E.P.A’s Office of Air and Radiation from 2013 to 2017.
March 28, 2018 at 09:56PM