Secret science

By From page A4 | July 02, 2014

We are totally stumped. Until it was pointed out by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, we had no idea there was a government agency that sponsored research and kept it secret.

The Environmental Protection Agency funds research to support its regulations and even picks its own scientists to review the research. But it won’t make its research public.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy sees data transparency as a threat. As Smith noted, in April McCarthy told the National Academy of Sciences that her agency needs to protect data “from those who are not qualified to analyze it.”

That is just weird. Regardless of the fact the taxpayers paid for this and have a right to see what they paid for, this research should be open for analysis and peer review by scientists not beholden to the EPA.

Furthermore, never underestimate the analytical power of a determined amateur. Not everyone is trained as an EPA specialist, but there are many people who are trained to analyze research, such as lawyers and people with master’s degrees and newspaper reporters.

We think the real reason for keeping this research secret is it wouldn’t hold up under challenge from outside the coterie of the EPA science groupies.

Smith is sponsoring the Secret Science Reform Act that will ensure that EPA regulations are based on legitimate science and all data are open to the public. The act is supported by a letter signed by 80 scientists that includes physicians and professors of environmental sciences, physics, statistics, economics and engineering.

Smith said one of the signatories includes the former chairman of the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee in the Clinton administration, and former commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the George H.W. Bush administration.

We are being fed a line about global warming that so far is based on secret science by the EPA. It’s time to shine a light on the EPA’s alleged science and see which noodles really stick to the wall.

Mountain Democrat

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