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article imageScience denying Republicans may feel EPA's wrath

By Megan Hamilton     Apr 30, 2014 in Politics
A small, vocal group of Republicans has accused the EPA of using "secret science" to push through clean air regulations. In response, EPA chief Gina McCarthy says the agency will come out swinging.
House Republicans who quibble about the Environmental Protection Agency and how it passes clean air regulations are in the EPA's cross-hairs, Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a speech April 28 at the National Academy of Sciences. This small group of Republicans, such as Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and House Science Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and others who like to toss about the term "secret science" may feel some extra EPA heat,Politico notes.
During the speech, McCarthy said she intends to go after the doubters.
"Those critics conjure up claims of 'EPA secret science' — but it’s not really about EPA science or secrets," she said. "It's about challenging the credibility of world renowned scientists and institutions like Harvard University and the American Cancer Society."
"It's about claiming that research is secret if researchers protect confidential personal health data from those who are not qualified to analyze it — and won’t agree to protect it'" McCarthy said. "If EPA is being accused of secret science because we rely on real scientists to conduct research, and independent scientists to peer review it, and scientists who've spent a lifetime studying the science to reproduce it — then so be it.”
For their part, Vitter and Smith want the EPA to make the scientific data behind its clean air regulations available to the public, according to the Daily Caller.
"EPA's leadership is ignoring the big picture and defending EPA's practices of using science that is, in fact, secret due to the refusal of the agency to share the underlying data with Congress and the American public," Vitter told the Daily Caller.
Vitter and fellow Republicans have been bashing the EPA for its proposed limits on carbon emissions for power plants, claiming that the limits are backed up by faulty science, according to the Hill.
In a statement, Smith said it was "disappointing that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy continues to try to justify her agency's use of secret science. Relying on undisclosed data is not good science and not good policy."
It's likely there will be another storm of controversy brewing because the House Science Committee plans to introduce a bill that seeks to block the EPA from proposing regulations based on data that is not disclosed to the public.
In her speech, McCarthy said critics are setting a risky precedent.
"Those critics are playing a dangerous game by discrediting the sound science our families and our businesses depend on every day," she said. "You can't just claim the science isn't real when it doesn't align well with your political or financial interests."
"My guess is that those critics that distrust the most trustworthy institutions — and vilify the work of reputable scientists and EPA — are not trying to provide scientific clarity. My guess is that they’re looking to cloud the science with uncertainty — to keep EPA from doing the very job that Congress gave us to do."
One thing is certain; both sides are digging in their heels and appear to be engaged for the long haul. Hopefully, science will not lose out in this battle.
More about Epa, Gina McCarthy, Environmental protection agency, Republicans, national academy of sciences
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