For Immediate Release, September 28, 2011
Contact: Kassie Siegel, (951) 961-7972
Inspector General Review Again Affirms EPA Finding
Greenhouse Gas Pollution Endangers Public Health, Welfare
WASHINGTON— A procedural review by the Inspector General for the Environmental Protection Agency, released today, once again affirms the EPA’s 2009 finding that greenhouse gas pollution endangers public health and welfare. The inspector’s review was requested by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), one of the Senate’s most notorious climate deniers.
“How many more floods, heat waves, wildfires and unprecedented droughts do we need to endure before big polluters and their allies in Congress abandon their desperate attempts to deny that greenhouse gas pollution threatens our nation’s health and welfare?” said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute.
Today’s review affirms the EPA’s 2009 “endangerment finding,” a critically important decision paving the way for reductions in greenhouse gas pollution contributing to the global climate crisis, by concluding “EPA met statutory requirements for rulemaking and generally followed requirements and guidance related to ensuring the quality of the supporting technical information.”
While the IG report affirms the EPA finding overall, it raises an obscure administrative dispute regarding the precise procedures followed by the agency to review the “Technical Support Document” for the “endangerment finding.” The EPA reviewed this document under an administrative track used for “influential scientific information” because it is a compilation of previously peer-reviewed information. The IG argues that the document should have been classified as a “highly influential scientific assessment” and reviewed according to slightly different administrative requirements. Both the EPA and the Office of Management and Budget disagree with the IG’s interpretation.
“Some may quibble over this procedural question but the bottom line is that it simply has no bearing on the vast scientific consensus on climate change science,” said Siegel. “The information EPA reviewed in its own extensive procedures had already been exhaustively reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and others.”