All the Lies Fit to Print: The NYTimes supports EPA secret science

The New York Times editorialized against EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s move to end secret science at the EPA. Here’s the line-by-line takedown of the Times‘ lies.

This morning’s editorial is below. My comments are in [bolded brackets].

Keep in mind, the full story of EPA’s secret science is told in my book “Scare Pollution: Why and How to Fix the EPA.”


At Pruitt’s E.P.A.:
No Studies, No Data, No Rules

By The Editorial Board
March 31, 2018

The other day, Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, took yet another step to muzzle the scientific inquiry that for years has informed sound policy at an agency he seems determined to destroy. [False. The move advances science and improves the regulatory process by requiring replication of claimed scientific results prior to use in regulation.] He told his subordinates that they could no longer make policy on the basis of studies that included data from participants who were guaranteed confidentiality. [False. EPA can no longer base regulations on secret data — i.e., no using taxpayer-funded data that researchers refuse to allow others to see for purposes of replication of results. There is no personal privacy issue here. No personal data is required. None is being asked for. This privacy issue is a desperate red herring.] Over the years, such studies have been crucial to establishing links between mortality and pollution, led to regulations and saved many lives. [False. Over the years, such fraudulent science was crucial to the Obama EPA’s criminal overregulation of the coal industry. No environmental or public health gain was produced.] Limiting policymakers to only those studies with publicly available health data greatly narrows the field of research. [Naked claims that cannot be verified are not “research.”]

This got us to searching again (we’ve been here before with Mr. Pruitt) for the word that best describes the Trump administration’s hostility to scientific inquiry. [False. The hostility is to junk science and fraud.] “Disdain” jumps to mind. Fourteen months into his term, President Trump has yet to name a director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, or any of the four associate directors authorized by Congress — jobs that have provided presidents for decades with unbiased counsel. [Such BS. Obama science adviser John Holdren (a global warming zealot and advocate of forced abortion for population control) was totally politicized and biased.]

There’s another word: Fear. From the top down, the people who run this government seem absolutely terrified of scientific inquiry and the ways in which it could threaten Mr. Trump’s promise to ease regulations on fossil fuel companies and increase their profits, no matter the cost to public health and the planet. [More BS. “Scientific inquiry” requires production of the secret data so that it can be replicated. It is the data hiders that are “terrified of scientific inquiry.”] Think of it from Mr. Trump’s point of view. Why would he want a science adviser telling him that the link between climate change and the burning of fossil fuels is incontrovertible, that he should stick with the Paris agreement on climate change, that it’s a grave mistake to repudiate every one of President Obama’s efforts to slow the dangerous warming of the earth’s atmosphere? [Yeah, why would anyone want to be lied to?]

Far better to stick his head in the sand, ostrichlike; do that, and the need for policies regulating greenhouse gas emissions or dangerous pollutants like soot and mercury magically disappears. Which is certainly Mr. Pruitt’s modus operandi. As Gina McCarthy, a former E.P.A. administrator, and her deputy for air quality, Janet McCabe, said in a recent Times Op-Ed: “Mr. Pruitt’s goal is simple: No studies, no data, no rules.” [Gina McCarthy and Janet McCabe lied their asses off in that NYTimes op-ed. My takedown of that is here.]

Mr. Pruitt has been averse to science and fact from Day 1. Last fall, he announced that scientists who receive or had received federal research grants would be barred from serving on the agency’s nearly two dozen scientific advisory committees. The purpose, he said, was to eliminate conflicts of interest; the real purpose, it soon became clear, was to create vacancies that he could fill with industry experts and state officials pushing for lax regulations — people whose own conflicts of interest would be left unexamined. As Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists noted at the time, Mr. Pruitt’s claim that federal funding should exclude scientists from an E.P.A. advisory board while industry funding should not exclude them was on its face absurd. [That Pruitt move was another big win for You can read about the reality of that move here.]

Though the E.P.A. is the epicenter of denial, avoiding inconvenient truths is common practice elsewhere in the administration. Last year, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke reassigned Joel Clement, the department’s director of policy analysis and top expert on the impact of climate change in the Arctic, to an accounting job (Mr. Clement resigned in protest). Mr. Zinke also ordered the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine to cancel two studies that conflicted with the administration’s goal of expanding domestic fossil fuel production. One was examining the health risks of people living near surface coal mining sites in Appalachia; the other sought ways of strengthening the department’s oil and gas safety inspection program. [The health of people in Appalachia is endangered by their poverty, not coal mining. To the extent the Obama EPA hurt coal production in that region, he also harmed the lives and health of the people that rely on the industry.]

Even the official vocabulary of global warming has changed, as if problems can be made to evaporate simply by describing them in more benign terms. At the Agriculture Department, for instance, staff members are encouraged to use terms like “weather extremes” instead of “climate change.” [Absurd. Climate bedwetters were the ones that invented the “extreme weather” term to advance their global warming/climate change narrative.] Web pages about global warning have been removed, edited or buried throughout the government. [Yes. The climate hysteria disinformation/fearmongering was removed. Good for the Trump administration.] Last week, lest there be any confusion in the hinterlands, E.P.A. staff members in regional offices received a list of talking points instructing them to tell people that “clear gaps remain including our understanding of the role of human activity” on global warming. This is vintage Pruitt: Sow doubt whenever possible about established science. [EPA has new policy on climate. Federal employees who are authorized to talk on EPA policy are not allowed to freelance about what they think the policy should be. This is standard organizational practice.]

Mr. Trump’s economic advisers have reinforced this bias. His latest budget called for big funding cuts and in some cases elimination of programs aimed at protecting human health and building resilience against the effects of climate change — among them the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s coastal research program and the Energy Department’s energy efficiency and advanced technology programs. [These programs are a waste of money. They accomplish nothing except to benefit rent-seekers and to advance the climate bedwetting narrative.] Congress wisely denied these cuts, thanks to hard work by Charles Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leaders of the Senate and House. [The shameful GOP Congress never cuts spending.] Whether their efforts do anything to change the mind-set of Mr. Trump and his lieutenants remains to be seen. [Doubtful.]

Mr. Pruitt is widely believed to be positioning himself for a run for governor in his home state, Oklahoma; he also seems to covet the attorney general’s office, and, astoundingly, is said to harbor presidential ambitions. [Pruitt is the greatest EPA administrator ever. I hope he stay the entire Trump presidency.] But he and Mr. Zinke are unlikely to go anywhere soon, and as long as they have the support of the denier in chief, we can expect more disrespect for science and its practitioners. [Pruitt has done more to advance EPA science than all the scientists (real and imaginary) in the world. Read my summary of his accomplishments here.]