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Published: Friday 30 August, 2013

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Opponents of the federal government efforts to rein in planetwarming greenhouse gases were trumpeting victory Wednesday over a report by the Environmental Protection Agency inspector general that chided the agency for its peerreview process on a scientific document.

At issue is how the agency subjected a technical support document to scrutiny before finding that greenhouse gases posed a danger to the public and therefore merited regulation.

Sen. James M. Inhofe ROkla., a denier of the scientific consensus that human activity is causing the planet to warm, had requested the review last year in his role as ranking GOP member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer DCalif..

Here what Inhofe had to say:

This report confirms that the endangerment finding, the very foundation of President Obamas jobdestroying regulatory agenda, was rushed, biased and flawed. It calls the scientific integrity of EPAs decisionmaking process into question and undermines the credibility of the endangerment finding.

Here what Boxer said:

The EPA inspector general in no way questions the science underlying the endangerment finding. It is time to move on to protect the American people from the impacts of climate change, which we are already beginning to see.

And here what Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins Jr. said:

We concluded that the technical support document that accompanied EPAs endangerment finding is a highly influential scientif online designer clothing ic assessment and thus required a more rigorous EPA peer review than occurred. EPA did not certify whether it complied with OMBs or its own peer review policies in either the proposed or final endangerment findings as required. While it may be debatable what impact, if any, this had on EPAs finding, it is clear that EPA did not follow all required steps for a highly influential scientific assessment. We also noted that documentation of events and analyses could be improved.

The report went on to say that it was not evaluating the quality of the science itself:

We made no determination regarding the impact that EPAs information quality control systems may have had on the scientific information used to support the finding. We did not test the validity of the scientific or technical information used to support the endangerment finding, nor did we evaluate the merit of EPAs conclusions or analyses.

So why all the hoopla?

Since the campaign that leaked internal emails of climate scientists while policymakers were gathered in Copenhagen to hammer out international accords on curbing global warming two years ago, skeptics have been chiseling away at any doubt or anomaly in scientific work. The socalled Climategate scientists since have been exonerated by several international scientific panels. But the push to exploit any crack real or perceived in the science continues.

The EPA is quibbling with its own inspector general, based on a bureaucratic but important distinction. Scientific documents that are considered highly influential have to meet review requirements set by the White House Office of Management online designer clothing and Budget. The inspector general said the document in question was highly influential, while the EPA hierarchy disagrees. inspector general said the EPA technical support document had a high influence on the agency eventual decision because the agency weighed the strength of available science by its choices of information, data, studies and conclusions included in and excluded from the technical support document.

The EPA has had no official reply to the inspector general report, but issued the following statement:

We appreciate the important role played by the inspector generals office and will give the recommendations in this report the utmost consideration.

Most importantly, the repo online designer clothing rt does not question or even address the science used or the conclusions reached by EPA under this and the previous administration that greenhouse gas pollution poses a threat to the health and welfare of the American people. Instead, the report is focused on questions of process and procedure. While EPA 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 peerreviewed science. Since EPA finalized the endangerment finding in December of 2009, the vast body of peerreviewed 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.

The agency has 90 days in which to file a written response. Global Change Research Program, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Research Council. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times online designer clothing