This letter comes on the heels of a report by the EPA Office of Inspector General, released September 28, 2011, which revealed that EPA did not follow the Data Quality Act or its own peer review procedures while issuing the Technical Support Document (TSD) for the endangerment finding – a finding that greenhouse gases harm public health and welfare. “In the wake of the recent EPA IG report, which revealed that EPA short-circuited record-keeping and scientific peer review procedures leading up to its endangerment finding, it appears that EPA has cut corners on the proposed Utility MACT rule,” Senator Inhofe said. “Our investigation found that the peer review procedures for the Utility MACT Technical Support Documents are inadequate.
Indeed, EPA’s own Science Advisory Board criticized the Agency for ‘missing or poorly explained’ data and methods. Given the cost and reliability effects of the proposed rule, it is critical that EPA be held accountable for the process leading up to the decision to regulate.
“Utility MACT is projected to be one of the most expensive rules in the Agency’s history. It will cost billions of dollars, significantly increase electricity rates, cause a large number of plant closures, and, along with the Cross-State rule, destroy nearly 1.4 million jobs. Cutting corners on a rule with such devastating effects on our economy is unacceptable.
“I look forward to EPA’s response on this important matter, and if the information is not forthcoming, I will request that the EPA IG conduct an investigation.”
Specifically, Senator Inhofe’s Senate Environment and Public Works Committee staff found that the peer review process for the Utility MACT Technical Support Documents, entitled National-Scale Mercury Risk Assessment Supporting the Appropriate and Necessary Finding for Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Generating Units (Mercury Risk Assessment) and Non-Mercury HAP Case Studies Supporting the Appropriate and Necessary Finding for Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Generating Units (Non-Mercury Case Studies) was inadequate.
The Mercury Risk Assessment has been criticized for incoherence and conflicting data, and EPA has yet to seek peer review for the Non-Mercury Case Studies. EPA’s improper “peer review” of these critical studies, along with its failure to adhere to the proper procedures for the endangerment finding TSD calls into question the scientific integrity of EPA’s decision-making process.
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