Share This Page

EPA 'science': Shhhhhh! Secret!

| Sunday, May 4, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Assailing critics of her agency's refusal to make public the data upon which it bases economically ruinous regulations, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy defends the indefensible.

She did so in a speech last month at the National Academy of Sciences' 151st annual meeting, asserting that what critics call the EPA's “secret science” has been beneficial for health. She also claimed a need to safeguard “confidential personal health data from those who are not qualified to analyze it — and won't agree to protect it,” according to The Daily Caller.

Yet Congress never has asked the EPA for such personal data, says Sen. David Vitter, R-La. But Ms. McCarthy's claim to the contrary is just one way that her stance is off-base.

She's breaking a promise made during her confirmation last year to publicize secret EPA data. And as Mr. Vitter points out, the EPA inexcusably keeps such data “hidden from independent reanalysis and congressional oversight.”

Without such independent reanalysis, EPA cost-benefit claims — such as benefits of $4 billion to $9 billion a year and costs of $50 million to $350 million for a late-2012 soot-level rule — can't be evaluated reliably by Congress or the public. And EPA data secrecy violates the public's right to know what its tax dollars buy.

Legislation introduced by Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., would forbid basing EPA regulations on secret data. Such a law is needed to spare America more “trust us” EPA diktats.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.