EPA Falsifies Data, Bypasses Its Own Scientists Who Loudly Cry Foul

EPA Falsifies Data, Bypasses Its Own Scientists Who Loudly Cry Foul
December 24, 2013

Jim Lakely

Jim Lakely is director of communications at The Heartland Institute, co-director of Heartland’s... (read full bio)

You may recall that when Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, he said he would “bankrupt” the coal-fired energy industry. That would mean everyone's energy prices would "necessarily skyrocket," and he thought that was a good thing.

This editorial in the Wall Street Journal the other day (subscription required) shows that Obama's politicized Environmental Protection Agency is doing all it can to make his promise happen. And to do so, Obama's EPA is engaging in a War On Science.

According to the WSJ, the EPA “cut out the [agency’s] independent science advisers who exposed the junk science behind the EPA ban on new coal power.”

The EPA Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) recently had a look at the agency’s new “performance standards” from September that impose a 1,000-pound-per-megawatt-hour limit on carbon emissions. Trouble is, even the most modern, clean, and efficient coal-fired plants emit 1,800 pounds per megawatt hour. The EPA's own hand-picked scientists advised that it was simply not possible for America's coal plants to meet that standard. The scientists on the EPA's advisory board said: You're rigging the game to outlaw all coal plants! Don't do that!

No matter, said EPA. You scientists say carbon capture technology is “speculative.” Well, we don’t care. Were going to mandate it anyway. Besides, we have “peer review” studies that say we can go ahead with this mandate.

But the SAB pushed back. From the WSJ editorial:

This caught the attention of a fact-finding SAB working group chaired by James Mihelcic of the University of South Florida. In a Nov. 12 memo, the group raised questions about carbon sequestration's "technical feasibility" and noticed that, in the EPA's regulatory justification, "the peer review of the scientific and technical information presented for coal-fueled sources appears to be inadequate."

In its original rule, the EPA had pointed to speculative studies and models out of a research unit in the Energy Department to show that sequestration works. Headquarters assured the SAB panel that these studies had been flyspecked by "industry experts, academia and government research and regulatory agencies."

Yet when the SAB panel inquired further, the Energy Department revealed that some of the studies had been "peer reviewed" by the EPA itself over a period of just a few weeks and the rest never got an unbiased look. Nor could Energy provide "a documented or publicly available description for this peer review process." EPA refuses to share the information with the SAB.

This is your taxpayer funded, unscientific EPA at work — destroying affordable energy for all. And the left claims that the right is engaging in a War On Science.

The Obama adminstration should set up a website for complaints about this policy. But it wouldn't be able to actually accept complaints until about 2016, so what's the point?

Read the whole thing.

Jim Lakely

Jim Lakely is director of communications at The Heartland Institute, co-director of Heartland’s... (read full bio)