"EPA Accused of Cutting Corners on Climate Finding"

"The Environmental Protection Agency cut corners in its effort to regulate greenhouse gases but met rulemaking requirements, a federal watchdog found. The EPA, disagreeing strongly, countered the science - and the case for action - was unquestioned."

"The Obama administration cut some procedural corners in assessing the human impacts of climate change, a key step necessary before environmental regulators can restrict greenhouse gas emissions, a government watchdog agency concluded Wednesday.

The White House, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and others defended the agency's efforts, noting the science underpinning the administration's report was never questioned and remains sound. But the Office of Inspector General's conclusion gave fresh ammunition to those skeptical of climate science and opposed to emissions restrictions.

The Inspector General found the EPA should have conducted a more extensive review of the science behind its decision that greenhouse gases threaten human health and welfare, rather than rely on summaries by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council, among others.

'While it may be debatable what impact, if any, this had on EPA's finding, it is clear that EPA did not follow all the required steps,' Inspector General Arthur Elkins Jr. said in a statement Wednesday.

The EPA met statutory requirements and 'generally followed' requirements to support its proposed rules, the Inspector General's office concluded. But the  it should have sought a separate scientific peer-review of its 'highly influential' assessment of the science.

The EPA strongly disagreed and refused to take any corrective actions identified by the Inspector General.

Instead, the agency noted that it followed a 'thorough and deliberate process' in developing the proposed rules, 'including a careful review of a wide range of peer-reviewed science.' Several independent scientific bodies have also examined that science, the agency added, and have upheld its validity.

'Most importantly, the report does not question or even address the science used or the conclusions reached,' the EPA said in a statement."

Douglas Fischer reports for The Daily Climate Septembner 29, 2011.


EPA Inspector General's September 26, 2011, Report

EPA Inspector General's September 28, 2011, Statement

"New IG Report Faults Process in EPA's Greenhouse Gas Assessments" (Greenwire)

"EPA 'Strongly Disagrees' With Inspector General Climate Finding" (E2 Wire)

"EPA Needed More Data Before Ruling on  Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Report Says" (Washington Post)

"EPA Criticized Over Greenhouse-Gas Findings" (Wall St. Journal)

"Conservative Media Join Inhofe's Anti-EPA Fishing Expedition" (Media Matters)

"The EPA Inspector General's Report on EPA's Endangerment Finding Review Process, And Some Responses" (Climate Science Watch)

"EPA Pushes Back Against Report Alleging Agency Cut Corners On Climate Finding" (Huffington Post)

"Report Criticizes EPA’s Climate Finding" (AP)

"EPA Scolded on Greenhouse Gas Report Review Process" (Los Angeles Times)

"Are There 'Serious Flaws' in the EPA’s Bid to Regulate Greenhouse Gases?" (Scientific American)

"Sen. James Inhofe And His Demands To Probe The EPA" (MinnPost)

Source: Daily Climate, 09/29/2011