I’m sure this will come as quite a shock to our faithful readers, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) admitted that it can’t actually reproduce the “science” it has been using for years as the justification for its Clean Air Act.
I remember very distinctly the attitude on the Georgia Tech campus toward the environmental “science” department. I’m sure that much of what was studied by environmental science majors was legitimate, especially as it concerned local phenomena and processes. But when it comes to the global aspects of environmental science (weather systems, causation, the long-term effects of pollution, etc.), it becomes obvious that environmental scientists are less reliable than weathermen and relying heavily on extremely speculative models of explanation.
Pollution is defined by concentrations. Nothing that is considered a pollutant is necessarily bad intrinsically or necessarily. Even toxic elements occur naturally at low concentrations. The EPA determines what those concentrations are allowed to be in order to still be considered “safe.” And recently, the EPA has been narrowing those regulations even further, most recently in an attempt to force businesses to “go green.” But as it turns out, for years, the EPA has created and enforced regulations based on data that it pawned off as “hard science” that is impossible to reproduce independently. It was secret science. Pet science. Not hard science:
. . . The House Science Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, . . . issued its first subpoena in 21 years last August after being stonewalled by the EPA for two years . . .
However, despite “multiple interactions with the third party owners of the research data in an effort to obtain that data,” [EPA Administrator Gina] McCarthy wrote, some of the data subpoenaed by the committee “are not (and were not) in the possession, custody or control of the EPA, nor are they within the authority to obtain data that the agency identified. . . . The EPA acknowledges, however, that the data provided are not sufficient in themselves to replicate the analyses in the epidemiological studies, nor would they allow for the one to one mapping of each pollutant and ecological variable to each subject.”
So, in other words, the actual particulars of how much particulate pollutants are considered dangerous are totally arbitrary. The EPA largely set those regulations how they wanted to, and supported their legitimacy with a thin fig leaf of “science.” What did you expect though? Politicized science is always suspect.