When Reality Is Biased, Get New Facts: Draft Bill Would Interfere With EPA Science Board

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"When Reality Is Biased, Get New Facts: Draft Bill Would Interfere With EPA Science Board"

“Folks, last week, President Obama cynically used the inaugural address to push his radical pro-survival agenda. Folks, I didn’t think this part of his speech would get any traction, because there’s no national consensus on climate change. It’s like if JFK announced the Apollo program, but half the country denied the Moon exists.” -Stephen Colbert

“And reality has a well-known liberal bias.” -Stephen Colbert

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has a subpanel on the environment — and it has become a strange thing to watch this year.

Its new chairman is a climate denier. It scheduled a hearing about climate change featuring climate deniers but since most of Washington DC shut down for a blizzard that manifested itself in the city as a lot of rain, they postponed it. Other committees, like the House Energy and Commerce Committee, have been refusing to hold hearings on climate change. Therefore this subcommittee is becoming the only option to hear in person what the House of Representatives thinks about climate change (short of catching a one minute speech on the House floor from the Safe Climate Caucus).

On Wednesday, the subcommittee on the environment investigated the EPA’s Science Advisory Board. This is the EPA’s scientific body it consults as it writes regulations — such as clean air and fracking rules.

Last year, the House GOP introduced legislation to reform the board because it said there is not enough industry representation, and too many scientific experts on the board receive EPA grants. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse showed in 2008 how industry (i.e. ExxonMobil and Dow) can gain harmful influence over scientific panels. During this hearing, the members debated similar legislation for the new congress.

Francesca Grifo of the Union of Concerned Scientists testified that the draft bill would not help the integrity of the scientific process:

This draft bill contains provisions that would slow the work of the Scientific Advisory Board, remove longstanding and widely accepted practices for dealing with conflicts of interest and reduce the expertise of Scientific Advisory Board members.”

This debate appears to be more an instance of lawmakers seeing data they do not like, and going back to the drawing board to change the rules to get a different result. There is scientific consensus that humans cause climate change, that it is a serious threat to our civilization, and we need to act now.

Subcommittee Chairman Chris Stewart (R-UT) finished his statement noting he was just here to help: “If the EPA scientific process is viewed as being biased, or less than willing to consider every point of view, their credibility suffers.” This would have been more credible if he had not just introduced the EPA as a job-killing monster:

Whether it is promulgating air quality regulations that could shut down large swaths of the West, undertaking thinly veiled attacks on the safety of hydraulic fracturing, or pursuing job-killing climate regulations that will have no impact on the climate, EPA’s reputation as a lightning rod for controversy is well known here in Washington and throughout the country.

When a series of doctors tell a patient about a serious health condition, accusing the doctors of bias does not heal anything.

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10 Responses to When Reality Is Biased, Get New Facts: Draft Bill Would Interfere With EPA Science Board

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    Ours is a Potemkin government, run by knaves, fools, and whores. The fault does not lie with the American voter, but with the banks and fossil fuel companies who control his television, manipulate his children’s curricula, and bankroll his legislative representatives.

    Change will likely occur only when everything falls apart, as after 1929. 1975 presaged change, between disgust for war and exposure of Nixon the sociopath. Carter represented partial change, but after him we got Reagan, and we’ve have had different versions of him ever since. The big boys have made sure of that.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Unfortunately, this time, when things fall apart, the centre will not hold. This is a vastly greater crisis than 1929, and there is no-one in sight, in politics in the West, who seems even remotely up to the task. Indeed all you see are malignant buffoons who have rejected science, rationality and basic human decency. To see a great scientific/technological society like the USA reduced to rule by pre-Enlightenment obscurants and imbeciles is deeply saddening, but even more shocking.

  2. Sasparilla says:

    Would such legislation require matching legislation in the Senate to actually affect the EPA?

  3. Joan Savage says:

    It might be more precise to call Rep. Stewart a climate demurrer, as although he admits climate change exists, his attitude seems to be, So what?

    One of my favorite bits of research on congresspeople is to look at the demographics and economics of their home districts, as it gives strong clues to their voting positions.

    Stewart represents Utah’s recently reconfigured 2nd congressional district, much of western and southern Utah.
    Think coal and gold, here’s a map.
    http://www.utahmining.org/Mineralsmap.htm

    • Daniel Coffey says:

      So what? As long as there is water enough to mine, what difference does a drought make? After all, the rich will always have water, food and all the toys. Only the poor and middle class will suffer – oh, and the wild world – from global warming. The wealthy always can migrate north to where the summers are survivable. Others, not so much.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        That reality, or the belief that they are somehow immune, because rich, to the disasters just beginning to occur, is one of the reasons that I suspect that this catastrophe is either being actively planned and advanced, or is seen as a serendipitous opportunity to perform a great global cull of ‘useless eaters’.

      • Merrelyn Emery says:

        I doubt there will be anywhere that is pleasant or safe to live. Nothing is predictable anymore, ME

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

          Yes, ME, but stealing money and holding on to it doesn’t require much nous. Just rat cunning, unscrupulousness and ruthlessness. Our Masters are not that clever, obviously.

  4. Jack Burton says:

    Of course this state of affairs is a prefect reflection of America politics. Reality based it is not! The forces that bribe politicians and the social conservative base that is a Republican bedrock, both seek a world view that reflects their financial interests and the others religious interests.
    Liberal tend to think facts matter, so they find it hard to accept that a large portion of the country believe facts only exist as a function of religious and political views. The type of people who deny climate science fall into these two camps. One will never change because they have a money stake in fossil fuel use, the other’s Soul is at stake in the notion that God made earth to be exploited, and that all that happens is the hand of god. Liberals just can’t accept that many people, smart people, rich people, influential people are in these camps. Powerful people are in these two camps.
    The war on liberals and the war on climate science are seen as a life and death struggle for money and for man’s soul.
    If you understand this, then you will understand the strength of denial.
    I will go further, as the climate continues to spiral out of control and there can be no question left but that global warming is in a run a way condition, when that day is reached, the two groups, will resort to violence. They are prepared to do most anything to keep business as usual. They have already stopped any actions to prevent global warming, they will not rest if anyone does try and take measures. Should government step in and start reduction programs, then violence will break out. Believe it! If you think they will take it without a real battle, think again. These people are all in, fossil fuel is seen as a proxy for God himself by these people!

  5. Daniel Coffey says:

    So science suffers, what difference does that make? No one else in the world uses science or even knows it exists, so the US will be ahead no matter what we do. Right? Tell me I’m wrong.

    Now we can have rockets filled with cotton candy and gravity will be legislated away so that flying cars will become commonplace, so long as they run on gasoline and get only 10 miles to the gallon; if they can’t use gasoline, then the anti-gravity legislation won’t work and they are stuck on the ground. Republican contractors will make millions or billions studying ways to take advantage of the new “anti-gravity” technology. It turns out that it was only government tethers that were holding cars on the ground all the time. There must be hundreds of people who can be convinced of this principle, especially if they are told that a utility has been secretly keeping the truth about anti-gravity from the public to keep up their profits.

    Logic? Logic? We don’t need no stinking logic?

    I attended a hearing before the California Public Utilities Commission yesterday and listened to local community members decry the application of a gas-fired power plant. That was fine, but afterward I listened to the environmentalist-led anti-science rally that followed, stirring up the masses for another round – all in support of a plan that will in all likelihood make solar-on-rooftop as expensive as possible, thus slow-walking renewable energy substitution for the current status quo fuels. Just another business plan played out by wearing environmental camouflage.

    Science need not interfere with any groups or individual’s plans, schemes or lies. Science-like knowledge, after all, has become just another form of politics to be used to support corn as fuel, or whatever environmentalists can be convinced is good. Why should Republicans think any different? If environmentalists think that they are immune from manipulation using “science-sounding” touts and arguments, think again.