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Senator Inhofe & the $300,000 Imaginary Scandal

28 Sep 2011  |   Emma Brown

Tags: Climate Change, General Political

What’s a Senator Inhofe to do? After instructing the Inspector General to conduct a needless $300,000 investigation into how the EPA determined that climate change “endangers” the public and mandates action, Senator Inhofe is told that the EPA did their job correctly and that there’s actually no scandal.

The story began back in April 2010 when Senator Inhofe instructed the Inspector General’s office to investigate how the EPA vetted a technical support document that outlined how the agency concluded that climate change poses a threat to public health. The document, which basically listed and summarized peer-reviewed research by the National Research Council, the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as evidence that climate change poses a threat, was reviewed internally by a panel of 12 federal climate change scientists.

 In their investigation, the Inspector General recently concluded that the EPA had “met statutory requirements for rulemaking and generally followed requirements and guidance related to ensuring the quality of the supporting technical information.” In simplest terms, the EPA did their job correctly. This assessment was later backed up by an analysis at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Yet, a press release from Senator’s Inhofe office following the investigation’s report, tells a much different story. The headline reads: “EPA IG Finds Serious Flaws in Centerpiece of Obama Global Warming Agenda. “

 The “serious flaw” Senator Inhofe is referring to is that EPA didn’t submit the technical support document to the public to be peer-reviewed, noted by the Inspector General’s report. Bear in mind that current EPA policy, and its oversight agency, the Office of Management and Budget, did not require the document to be submitted for public peer-review. In fact the “corrections” recommended by the Inspector General’s office to the agency were relatively minor—revise a flowchart, update criteria for using outside science, and use more clarifying statements. Doesn’t sound like that much of a serious flaw.

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