A Lame Liberal Media Response to a Lame EPA Response to Cover-up Allegations (Updated)

Yesterday, in Obama's EPA Makes a Mockery of Due Process, I commented on an accusation by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) that the EPA may have suppressed the results of an internal climate study to further the green agenda.  And while not directly to me, the EPA has nonetheless responded – and the response was pitiful.

It seems that Thomas Fuller at the Examiner also questioned the EPA’s actions, although ostensibly driven more by fear that such subterfuge unearthed might besmirch the names of fellow alarmists than any particular sense of outrage.  His motives notwithstanding, Fuller rightly decided to give the EPA an opportunity to respond to CEI’s charges and received this email response from EPA Press Secretary Adora Andy:
“This Administration and this EPA Administrator are fully committed to openness, transparency and science-based decision making.  These principles were reflected throughout the development of the proposed Endangerment finding, a process in which a broad array of voices were heard and an inter agency review was conducted.  In this instance, certain opinions were expressed by an individual who is not a scientist and was not part of the working group dealing with this issue.

Nevertheless, several of the opinions and ideas proposed by this individual were submitted to those responsible for developing the proposed endangerment finding.  Additionally, his manager allowed his general views on the subject of climate change to be heard and considered inside and outside the EPA and presented at conferences and at an agency seminar.  The individual was also granted a request to join a committee that organizes an ongoing climate seminar series, open to both agency and outside experts, where he has been able to invite speakers with a full range of views on climate science.  The claims that his opinions were not considered or studied are entirely false.”
The inanity of this reply is surpassed only by that of Mr. Fuller’s decision to accept it as a basis for redacting his entire article.  More on that later -- first to the substance (or, more fittingly – lack thereof) of Mr. Andy’s response.

In three consecutive sentences the spokesman states first that “a broad array of voices were heard,” then, dismissively, that Carlin’s emanated from “an individual who is not a scientist” and finally that several of this non-scientist’s opinions and ideas “were submitted to those responsible for developing the proposed endangerment finding” nevertheless.  Outstanding.

For the record: Carlin is indeed listed as an “EPA author and contributor” on a number of supporting documents, including the final Technical Support Document for Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act [PDF].  But, as stated in the CEI complaint, Carlin’s own report was never allowed entry to the docket of the proceeding.

But it gets lamer.  Andy asserts that Carlin’s “manager” (EPA National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE) Office Director Al McGartland) allowed Carlin’s “general views on the subject of climate change to be heard and considered inside and outside the EPA and presented at conferences and at an agency seminar.”  Yet, while this is totally contradicted by the email exchange attached to the CEI letter of complaint, at no point does Andy challenge the authenticity of those emails.  Not even the one in which McGartland directly ordered Carlin not to discuss matters concerning endangerment outside the NCEE or directly contact the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation (OAR), which directs EPA’s climate change program.

And while Andy speaks of a committee Carlin was allowed to join that “organizes an ongoing climate seminar series,” he never addressed the principal issue at hand:  Why, despite Carlin’s insistence that his comments were significant as they “present information critical to the justification (or lack thereof) for the proposed endangerment finding,” did his superior make the seemingly unilateral decision not to forward them to OAR? 

As I said – pitiful.

And now to the matter of Mr. Fuller’s explanation for his effective retraction and conclusion that Andy’s assertions cause CEI “a serious problem,” potentially leaving “their credibility in tatters.” He writes:  [my emphasis]
“The analyst in question is Alan Carlin, an economist who has been with the EPA since 1972. Although this has been presented as if his report was skeptical of the received wisdom regarding climate change, a report found on his website (Why a Different Approach Is Required if Global Climate Change Is to Be Controlled Efficiently or Even at All), suggests that he is not a skeptic at all, but rather advocates geoengineering as opposed to limits on greenhouse gases. Some of his opinions differ from the IPCC consensus and most probably differ from the EPA proposal to treat CO2 as a pollutant. But the idea that Carlin is a skeptic whose ideas are being suppressed is probably far from the truth.”
Mr. Fuller’s interpretation of CEI general counsel Sam Kazman’s letter [PDF], and thereby the matter at hand, is completely back ass-wards, even for a self-professed “Lib Dem.”  It’s Carlin’s skepticism of Endangerment, not climate change, at play here.     

One read no further than the letter’s opening paragraph to understand that neither Mr. Carlin’s general nor his report’s specific position on “the received wisdom regarding climate change” are at issue: [my emphasis]
“CEI is submitting a set of four EPA emails, dated March 12-17, 2009, which indicate that a significant internal critique of EPA’s position on Endangerment was essentially put under wraps and concealed. The study was barred from being circulated within EPA, it was never disclosed to the public, and it was not placed in the docket of this proceeding. The emails further show that the study was treated in this manner not because of any problem with its quality, but for political reasons.”

So the accusations stand, unanswered and only pathetically challenged:  EPA Senior Operations Research Analyst Carlin felt his comments essential to the EPA’s final decision on CO2’s endangerment. These comments were quashed by his superior as they were unfavorable to both the agency’s and the “days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over” Obama administration’s predisposition in the matter.

It’s that simple -- read the unchallenged emails attached to Kazman’s letter.  

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