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EPA 'science': Shhhhhh! Secret!

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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.

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