Jordan Candler / June 8, 2015

‘Independent’ EPA Study Not So Independent After All

In May, a new study commissioned by Harvard and Syracuse University claimed that the EPA’s soon-to-be-released Clean Power Plan will eliminate around 3,500 pollution-related deaths annually. The celebratory reaction quickly went mainstream. The EPA, whose proposal it already posited will save lives, suddenly had the benefit of an independent verification. Or did it? Writing in Breitbart, publisher Steve Milloy found that the researchers of said study had personally partaken in various multi-million dollar EPA-funded studies. Furthermore, one author’s assertion that the agency “did not participate in the study or interact with its authors” was found to be complete hogwash. Says Milloy, “I submitted a request to EPA under the Freedom of Information Act for email between the study authors and EPA staff. Although subsequent wrangling with agency staff gave me doubt that I would ever get anything, I received, much to my surprise, 99 pages of emails after mere weeks. The emails reveal that [the] study co-authors … were definitely in contact with key EPA staff regarding this research.”

“This issue goes deeper than mere truth-telling,” he adds. “The EPA’s controversial Clean Power Plan hinges on the notion that shuttering coal plants will save lives.” In fact, shuttering coal plants may very well cost lives. Yet EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy recently postulated, “We can speak to the science because it’s complicated and we do a lot of research and we do a lot of translation of the science into what it means for people so that the decisions can be made on the basis of real science and on the basis of a real technical understanding.” In other words, “Trust us.” But they keep giving us every reason not to.

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