The Latest, Most Concise News in Environmental Special Interest Shenanigans
- Late last week, an EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) pooh-poohed the agency for carrying water for the Environmental Defense Fund in the preamble to a toxicity assessment of three chemicals known as trimethylbenzene isomers. In Thursday’s InsideEPA ($), Maria Hegstad reported that the SAB’s draft review of EPA’s assessment objects to the agency’s inclusion of, inter alia, the claim that “funding source can downgrade the credibility of studies”; in a conference call, one member called it “absolutely anti-science.” In fact, EPA borrowed this “anti-science” concept from the greens.* Hegstad reports: ‘Environmental Defense Fund in comments last June “strongly recommend[s] that funding source be included in the risk of bias evaluations of studies.”’ Not for the first time, EPA effectuated a policy priority for environmental special interests, in seeming contravention to sound scientific and administrative procedures (not to mention common sense).
- On Monday, Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay reported on the assertion by a prominent Sierra Club writer on a Sierra Club blog that that the House of Saud is “our best ally in the fight against Keystone XL.” According to the Sierra Club, the Saudis did the green movement a solid by maintaining production in the face of declining prices and thereby perpetuating cheap oil, which renders Keystone XL less economic. Of course, sustained lower prices—by engendering greater demand—would lead to far more GHG emissions than any single infrastructure project. This is further evidence that opposition to the pipeline is based on ill-considered emotion far more so than reality.
- Sticking with Sierra Club: The green group was party to a “sue and settle” consent decree that was proposed in Thursday’s Federal Register and which serves as an exquisite example of this litigious practice. In mid-December, Sierra Club filed an amended complaint in a northern California federal court (Sierra Club v. McCarthy, CA No. 4:14-cv-3198 (N.D. Cal.)); the agency immediately moved to settle; and, finally, the two parties (EPA & Sierra Club) negotiated how the agency would employ its limited resources in order to process plans for a 2008 ozone standard by 25 States—none of which were California. Thus—behind closed doors in a northern California court—did the agency and the Sierra Club hash out environmental policy affecting a number of States east of the Mississippi. Ladies & gentlemen, THAT is sue and settle.
- “We want to make sure people know right now that Republican leaders chose as their very first priority for 2015 a bill designed simply to benefit their polluter allies,” said League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski on Thursday, regarding LCV’s “special edition” score of S. 1, the Senate bill to force approval of the Keystone pipeline that recently was passed by the upper chamber. In fact, 9 democrats—more than 20% of the party’s Senate caucus—voted for the legislation. Contrary to what the LCV (and others) would have you believe, opposition to the president’s anti energy policies is a model of bipartisanship.
- National Journal’s Claire Foran reports that green groups are “lobbying to add what amounts to a climate-change warning to federal dietary guidelines.” The idea, as reported, is to brand red meat with negative connotations, due to beef’s big carbon footprint. It is a testament to the green movement’s vast resources that they can engage in this pointless battle.
- Whoever operates NRDC’s twitter feed this week tweeted with little regard for consistency, as is demonstrated by the juxtaposition of the incongruent messages below:
*Of course, green groups only oppose studies funded by the private sector. If they are EPA-funded, or if they are funded by green special interests in the non-profit sector, then they are fine.