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EPA Stacks the Deck with ‘Independent’ Science Panel


While much of the disruptive damage to the coal chain may look irreparable, there are a few groups dogging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and exposing the agency’s shady methods for advancing President Obama’s clean power agenda. One of those is the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), headed by Dr. David Schnare, who is a 33-year veteran of the EPA.

E&E Legal (www.eelgal.org) is engaged in strategic litigation, policy research, and public education on important energy and environmental issues. Primarily through its petition litigation and transparency practice areas, it seeks to correct onerous federal and state policies that hinder the economy, increase the cost of energy, eliminate jobs and do little to improve the environment.

Last month, the E&E Legal sued the EPA for illegally forming a key science advisory committee — the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee Particulate Matter Review Panel for 2015-2018 (CASAC PM Panel). “The EPA has stacked the panel, which is required by law to be independent and unbiased, with researchers who have received more than $190 million in discretionary grants from the EPA,” said Steve Milloy, an attorney and senior fellow with E&E Legal. “This clearly violates the law and makes a mockery of the notion of ‘independent’ scientific review.” Coal Age readers should know Milloy. A lawyer, he ran the website junkscience.com, which was dedicated to exposing faulty scientific data and analysis. Today’s EPA is a hotbed of faulty scientific data and analysis.

“We are asking the court to prevent the EPA from convening the panel until the panel can be formed in a balanced manner in compliance with applicable laws,” Schnare said.

The EPA’s PM2.5 regulations have been a scientifically controversial policy since the agency began the process of regulating it in the early 1990s. E&E Legal has said that, not only has the EPA hidden from public scrutiny the “scientific data” that its PM2.5 regulation relies on, the agency stacks the legally required CASAC panel with EPA-paid researchers.

Why is this important to the coal business? The agency’s claims about the dangers related to PM2.5 have been a primary basis for its justification of air quality standards and the regulations related to the Obama administration’s “war on coal,” specifically the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, Mercury Air Transport Standard and Clean Power Plan.

“Not only does the EPA pay researchers to produce controversial research that advances its PM2.5 regulatory agenda, but the agency pays the very same researchers to review their own controversial work,” said Milloy. “Of the 26 members the EPA selected to be on the CASAC PM Panel, 24 of them have been paid or are currently being paid by the EPA a total sum in excess of $190 million. The EPA’s supposedly ‘independent’ review process is entirely rigged to advance the EPA’s agenda.” That would be an average of about $8 million per panelist of U.S. taxpayer dollars.

Fortunately, watchdog groups like E&E Legal are exposing and documenting the underhanded methods this administration used to subvert America’s energy policy.

Steve Fiscor, Coal Age Editor-in-Chief

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