President Obama has made it pretty clear to his environmental extremist friends that during his second term, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will pursue a more aggressive, wider-reaching agenda than it has to date. That’s a very troubling prospect. Not only has EPA Director Lisa P. Jackson’s agency been wildly and needlessly intrusive into the private sector during the past four years, but its agenda increasingly has been based less and less on science and data and more and more on conjecture and hyperbole. Thus, Mrs. Jackson’s EPA has become almost indistinguishable — in a policy sense — from the environmental groups to which it panders. Science suffers as a result.
Patrick Moore, one of Greenpeace’s founding fathers, has been an unabashed critic of today’s environmental extremists and their abandonment of science. Environmental journalist Fred Pearce, no friend to industry by any means, recently posed the question: “Why are Environmentalists Taking Anti-Science Positions?” in a scathing column published at Yale Environment 360. Environmental groups have thus clearly embarked on a path that leads further away from reality with every step. They are free to make this choice, of course, and they surely will continue to make themselves increasingly irrelevant as a result of that choice. But why on earth would an organization like the EPA follow those groups down such a dangerous road? The answer can only involve politics or ignorance — or some combination thereof. The answer, however, surely doesn’t involve science as those of us trained in the sciences understand the term.
Central to the EPA’s anti-science approach is the virtual abandonment of sound risk assessments when considering potential environmental contaminants. Before the Obama administration, the EPA was consistent when evaluating risk. To oversimplify a complex process, pre-Obama EPA’s risk assessment involved prioritization and quantification: Identify those things that could present a substantial risk to a large population or part of the environment and then come up with cost-effective ways to reduce that risk. In other words, there was a presumption that some risks aren’t worth worrying about because they are just too tiny, and attempting to further reduce those risks would be a poor use of economic resources. Scientists associated with the EPA, the regulatory world and environmental groups spent a great deal of time and money coming up with frameworks and methodologies designed to separate those risks worth addressing from phantom risks.
Read more at The Washington Times. By Rich Trzupek.
Photo credit: Rainforest Action Network (Creative Commons)