One of the Senate’s top foes of U.S. EPA climate regulations said yesterday that a report last week by the agency’s inspector general was reason to reopen EPA’s finding that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health.
The IG report did not cast doubt on the science EPA used to support the endangerment finding, but it did question EPA’s process for reviewing that science. EPA says it followed established procedure to the letter when preparing its finding.
The endangerment finding, finalized in 2009, forms the basis for all of EPA’s climate-related regulations, for both stationary sources and vehicles.
In his remarks yesterday on the Senate floor, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) in particular questioned the agency’s use of data from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to support the endangerment finding.
“EPA’s findings rest in large measure on the IPCC assessments, and EPA appears to have accepted them wholesale,” said Inhofe, who serves as top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
IPCC came under fire in 2009, when more than a thousand emails stolen from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit were leaked. Climate change skeptics said that some of those messages implied that data had been manipulated to emphasize man-made causes for climate change. Some of the scientists whose emails were hacked had been featured in IPCC reports. But a review of the emails determined that the scientists had not falsified data.
IPCC officials have also admitted that their 2007 report incorrectly stated Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035. They attributed this to an editing error, not an error by scientists.
Inhofe said he asked EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to delay release of the endangerment finding after “Climategate,” as the email-hacking scandal has come to be called. She refused.
“It appears that the Obama EPA can not be trusted with the most consequential decision that the agency may ever make,” he concluded.
Inhofe requested the IG report, and earlier this week he formally asked Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to hold a hearing to review its findings.
He said the report provided “a devastating critique of the process leading up to the Agency’s decision to regulate greenhouse gases, calling the scientific integrity of EPA’s decisionmaking process into question and undermining the credibility of the endangerment finding.”
Boxer’s staff did not return calls for comment last night.