Sierra Club hypocrites

Fascinating….

“Members of the Sierra Club’s board of directors are driving around in gas-guzzling vehicles, despite the group’s support for the Obama administration’s increased fuel efficiency standards.” click here

Dennis Hastert, Rick Perry, Jeb Bush fall to the amnesty dark side

More have fallen. Will the Evil Empire win amnesty after all? (click here , here, here). I’m not so sure…..(Just to be clear, it is not the immigrants that are the problem at all. They are welcome under current law. It is the politicians who are the problem.)

Atathoth

Ms. Gina McCarthy double-spins the image, mission of EPA

USEPA Administrator Gina McCarthy  is now spinning the mission of EPA to position itself as a “public health” agency. This label has been one the agency has attempted to claim for itself for many years. I once thought this way myself earlier in my career, but now the rogue lawless nature of the agency has become too obvious to ignore.

McCarthy has asked the agency’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee (CHPAC) to provide short-term, actionable priorities to accomplish during her tenure. Specifically, she seeks to bolster the agency’s role as a “public health” entity and address the adverse health effects of climate change.

McCarthy intends to deal with climate change making an intentional link (aka leap of blind faith) between the need for action on climate and protecting communities. CHPAC is being used by the agency to provide justification for her actions, so don’t be surprised if they tell her what she wants to hear.

This continues the trend started in Colorado, where the drinking water program was merged and placed under the wastewater commission a number of years ago. A similarly proposed reorganization in California that is already planned. The proper regulatory paradigm for drinking water and wastewater are different, however. Saying EPA is a public health agency just as much as the environment is public relations spin. Unfortunately, EPA does not behave as a public health agency. It is an independent regulation-writing agency. It’s regulations are mandate-driven and based primarily on hypotheticals, typically having little to do with reducing actual illness. Yes, there are occasional contamination episodes and disease outbreaks. But a regulator sitting in the Ariel Rios Building in Washington writing more and more pages for the Federal Register is not going to do much of anything to actually solve or prevent such problems. I’ve never seen a regulation operate a wastewater treatment plant.

In the 1990s, EPA made a very hard push to work with public health agencies, nurses, and physicians to address cryptosporidium and a very large cross-discipline work group was formed, on which I served. It appears as though the same type of effort may be starting through this group. In effect, the EPA is intentionally using the credibility of nurses and doctors as evangelists to spread the agency’s message because no one questions nurses and doctors, whereas very few believe EPA. But what about those physicians, nurses and public health professionals who have a different view than EPA. Will EPA listen to them or will the agency repeat the practice of the past and talk with only those who already agree with them?

Indeed, for nurses and doctors in general there are many more important real illnesses and health issues to address. Drinking water (and most environmental exposures) do not even warrant any attention or priority….usually none at all. This is not to say such exposures are not important to certain individuals or there are no issues with drinking water. But when it comes to practical decision-making on a national scale paying too much attention to a minor issue sucks away resources needed elsewhere for greater benefit. 

I have known many fine people who have and do work at EPA and other agencies over the years. These comments are not directed at any particular individuals in these agencies. Individuals can act morally. A business or an agency cannot. This truism was first noted by Reinhold Niebuhr. Yet routinely, Ms. McCarthy (and other agency heads) attempt to project an altruistic “we only do good” image for their agency.

Protecting children and ensuring that their interests are foremost in agency actions is the promise of Ms. McCarthy. But who is to argue that protecting children shouldn’t be the standard by which the agency operates? No one would argue to the contrary. (Some would go further and include protecting children from the negative effects of homosexual behavior by others.) As I have observed over the years, when the agency is under criticism in environmental regulation, it turns to the public health community for support and plays the “we are a public health agency” card.   

Indeed, Ms. McCarthy and many within EPA have no respect and little regard for stakeholders with differing viewpoints than there own ideology (and those who agree with them). EPA faces criticism from regulated industries and interest groups because it behaves as an ideology-driven agency using the law in any way to its advantage with very poor regard for independent verifiable science. It has become a mandate driven regulation machine, it is not (and perhaps never was) a public health agency.  

Having recently admitted that EPA cannot provide data underlying recent air regulations, the agency is routinely out in front of science. Indeed, only the Safe Drinking Water Act requires that the agency use “best available, peer reviewed” science in its regulations. If EPA is pro-science, why does the agency continually oppose extending this requirement legislatively to all laws EPA is charged to implement? The reality? EPA wants to do what it wants to do, and in the absence of an obvious mistake, the US District Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit will defer, regardless of the agency spin, bias, or how poor the agency’s science.

Regardless of the administration, there are reasons EPA’s science and transparency are almost always questioned by congress and others. Having failed in the past to even respond to my simple docket requests and FOIA requests of others calls into serious question the credibility of EPA at all levels. There are valid reasons why EPA is criticized for its decisions, policies, and regulations. Deference by the court to uphold an EPA rulemaking does not in any way validate agency science or indicate that the rule is correctly justified. It simply means the court could find no obvious error and therefore deferred to the agency.

Ms. McCarthy has guaranteed to CHPAC that she will personally engage on three or four core things the committee thinks EPA could tackle over the next few years. Expect recommendations and actions to include more of the same we’ve heard before: more staff, more laws, more activism in nursing school curricula, and direct coordination with heads of medical and nursing schools. This all sounds very nice and positive and yet it all has been said and attempted before. On its face, who could be against it.

But my experience tells me to expect this new effort will essentially end up being the “Common Core” curricula program of EPA.

USEPA’s shredding system is working overtime?

“Federal law mandates an independent scientific review of the possible effects — both good and bad — of proposed environmental regulations before decisionmakers act. The Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t do that.”

click here for news article

Slow down in world wide glacier retreat

P. W. Leclercq, J. Oerlemans, H. J. Basagic, I. Bushueva, A. J. Cook and R. Le Bris. A data set of worldwide glacier length fluctuations. The Cryosphere, 8, 659-672, 2014. doi:10.5194/tc-8-659-2014.

Glacier fluctuations contribute to variations in sea level and historical glacier length fluctuations are natural indicators of past climate change. To study these subjects, long-term information of glacier change is needed. In this paper we present a data set of global long-term glacier length fluctuations. The data set is a compilation of available information on changes in glacier length worldwide, including both measured and reconstructed glacier length fluctuations. All 471 length series start before 1950 and cover at least four decades. The longest record starts in 1535, but the majority of time series start after 1850. The number of available records decreases again after 1962. The data set has global coverage including records from all continents. However, the Canadian Arctic is not represented in the data set. The available glacier length series show relatively small fluctuations until the mid-19th century, followed by a global retreat. The retreat was strongest in the first half of the 20th century, although large variability in the length change of the different glaciers is observed. During the 20th century, calving glaciers retreated more than land-terminating glaciers, but their relative length change was approximately equal. Besides calving, the glacier slope is the most important glacier property determining length change: steep glaciers have retreated less than glaciers with a gentle slope.

Click here for full paper (fee).

An example of IPCC ideology overruling science

“Within the U.S. federal government (and governments around the world), the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is given authority when it comes to climate change opinion.

This isn’t a good idea.

Here perhaps is the clearest example yet. By the time you get to the end of this post, we think you may be convinced that the IPCC does not seek to tell the truth—the truth being that it has overstated the case for climate worry in in its previous reports. The “consensus of scientists” instead prefers to obfuscate.”

Click here for complete post.

Federal agency SWAT teams: agents of citizen harrassment?

“Dozens of federal agencies now have Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams to further an expanding definition of their missions.” click here