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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

OIG Report on EPA's Greenhouse Gas Endangerment Finding

Today, the EPA Inspector General released a report on the procedural review of EPA’s Greenhouse Gases Endangerment Finding. Below are EPA’s statement, OMB’s letter to the Inspector General, and a link to the
Inspector General’s report.

What the Office of Inspector General (OIG) found:

EPA had the TSD reviewed by a panel of 12 federal climate change scientists. This review did not meet all OMB requirements for peer review of a highly influential scientific assessment primarily because the review results and EPA’s response were not publicly reported, and because 1 of the 12 reviewers was an EPA employee.
No supporting documentation was available to show what analyses the Agency conducted prior to disseminating the information.

What OIG Recommended:

(1) revise its Peer Review Handbook to accurately reflect OMB requirements for peer review of highly influential scientific assessments,

(2) instruct program offices to state in proposed and final rules whether the action is supported by influential scientific information or a highly influential scientific assessment, and

(3) revise its assessment factors guidance to establish minimum review and documentation requirements for assessing and accepting data from other organizations. EPA stated that its response to the final report will address OIG recommendations.
EPA’s Statement:

“We appreciate the important role played by the Inspector General’s Office and will give the recommendations of this report the utmost consideration.  The report importantly does not question or even address the science used or the conclusions reached – by the EPA under this and the previous administration – that greenhouse gas pollution pose a threat to the health and welfare of the American people. Instead, the report is focused on questions of process and procedures. While we will consider the specific recommendations, we disagree strongly with the Inspector Generals’ findings and followed all the appropriate guidance in preparing this finding.

EPA undertook a thorough and deliberate process in the development of this finding, including a careful review of the wide range of peer-reviewed science. Since EPA finalized the endangerment finding in
December of 2009, the vast body of peer reviewed science that EPA relied on to make its determination has undergone further examination by a wide range of independent scientific bodies. All of those reviews have upheld the validity of the science.”
OMB’s Statement from a letter to the EPA Inspector General:

"As we clearly stated in our letter to the Inspector General several months ago, OMB - the author of the guidance - is confident that EPA reasonably interpreted the direction provided and is complying
appropriately."
EPA Inspector General‘s Report on the Procedural Review of EPA’s Greenhouse Gases Endangerment Finding Data Quality Processes

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