Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, has accused the EPA of cooking the scientific books to justify oppressive and costly regulations.
The Environmental Protection Agency and other activists have long used “secret science”—another way of saying fake science or junk science—to justify job-killing regulations, legislation, and massive tax-dollar expenditures.
Even as they lobbied against the confirmation of their new boss, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, 15,000 unionized EPA scientists, regulators, policy wonks, and attorneys have been using unverifiable, unrepeatable “scientific” studies to undermine the rights of property owners, businesses, and employees. Just ask coal miners or farmers with ponds on their land just how much they appreciate being “protected” by the EPA.
On several fronts, the EPA seems to be entering into an uncivil war with both congressional oversight committees and President Trump’s choice as EPA administrator. Not since President Reagan faced down the air traffic controllers union has a new president faced this kind of opposition. However, by using fake science to justify their onerous regulations, EPA’s rank and file have gone far beyond what the air traffic controllers tried when they grounded America’s airlines while striking for higher compensation.
Civil ‘Servants’ Wage War on Their Employers
“It’s going to be a blood bath when Pruitt gets in there,” predicted former EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman, who predicted a stand-off between career employees and Pruitt. The EPA’s civil servants claim to fear for their jobs. Many also objected to the president’s (temporary) social media “gag order,” an executive order that kept government employees from using agency social media accounts to advocate policies in direct conflict with the president’s.
Instead of implementing the president’s agenda, they seem to believe their own views on global warming and a host of other environmental issues are the only “true” positions. The president, for his part, is clearly preparing to take the challenge directly to the EPA’s permanent staff.
This is shaping into a “two-front war,” as congressional oversight committees are investigating and challenging EPA civil servants with concerns they are using manipulated research to justify damaging regulations. Texas Republican Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, has accused the EPA of cooking the scientific books to justify oppressive and costly regulations.
He cited “secret science”—a kind of questionable science “based on non-public information,” including scientific claims “that could not be reproduced” by other scientists—the EPA is using to formulate job-crushing regulations. This so-called secret science is the technological equivalent of the “fake news” the mainstream media has come under fire for since President Trump’s inauguration.
Using fake science by adjusting findings to deliver specific results appears to be an international trend. An example is the World Health Organization’s cancer agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which has come under industry and congressional scrutiny after delivering claims about supposed carcinogens such as coffee that it later had to withdraw. It has also been caught directing scientists to hide or destroy the data they used to justify their claims about alleged carcinogens.
Led by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Congress is also looking at the funding the United States provides IARC due to its long record of early “findings” it must later withdraw when more accurate science disproves them.
Where Do the Lies End?
In using this fake science, the EPA has joined the ranks of the data-changing climate-change movement. Recall the recent revelations about those at NOAA and NASA who published unverifiable data, or even data that has been clearly manipulated. This includes both oceanic- and land-temperature data, which report writers cherry-picked to achieve a pre-determined yet factually questionable conclusion: the Earth is warming and the nearly two-decade pause in that warming was based on faulty data.
Now it appears the EPA has been doing the same thing with core data it has frequently hidden from view. For more than a decade, according to John D. Graham, a current dean at Indiana University and former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the National Science Foundation has routinely reported on the shoddy science the EPA has used in formulating regulations. The NSF pointed to the EPA’s studies’ “bad quality, lack of transparency and lack of reproducibility.”
This reflects the kind of problems cited by Dr. Louis Cox, a chief scientist at Nexthealth Technologies who needs sound data to assess health risks to Americans. Cox recently told Congress he’s alarmed at the state of the EPA’s scientific accuracy and dependability, testifying to “catastrophic failure in the reproducibility and trustworthiness of scientific results” at the EPA.
On their own, such bogus data manipulation has no immediate or direct impact on the American public or American business. It might create a falsified foundation for climate over-regulation, but the fake data alone are more laughable than concerning. However, in the EPA’s hands, fake science can lead to very real, business-crushing and job-costing regulations. This is why the House committee is so justifiably concerned, and Americans should be as well. Smith plans to re-introduce legislation that would ban the EPA from creating regulations based on “secret science.”
Americans who are tired of being lectured to by scientists who fake up data should look into Smith’s legislative initiative, then make up their own minds about secret science, junk science, and fake science, especially when it’s used to direct tax expenditures and squelch businesses and jobs. Americans who are worried about an out-of-control bureaucracy need look no further than the EPA, where thousands of people paid by our tax dollars are trying to sabotage the president’s initiatives to create jobs and improve our competitiveness in the world economy.
Jason Chaffetz’s home state has been corrected.
Since the ’76 Ford campaign Ned Barnett has been active in managing strategy, tactics, and media in campaigns for candidates and political issues. Barnett's forthcoming book is "The Nuts and Bolts of Creating and Winning A Political Campaign, From Someone Who’s Been There and Done That."