Peabody filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Feb. 12 that seeks review of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decision Dec. 7 that greenhouse gases pose a danger to public health.
Quite right. The Obama Administration is trying to use regulatory powers to bypass the Congress. Stealth policy is fundamentally anti-democratic and should be resisted.
Peabody has put out a 240 page document making its case. From the executive summary.
EPA must reconsider its Endangerment Finding based on new material that was not available during the comment period and which is central to the outcome that EPA reached in promulgating its Endangerment Finding. EPA failed to properly exercise its judgment as required by the Clean Air Act (“CAA”) and acted in an arbitrary and capricious fashion by relying almost exclusively on flawed reports of the IPCC in attributing climate change to anthropogenic greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. As evidenced by material that became available last fall from CRU, as well as additional information that has become available since the Endangerment Finding was issued, the IPCC reports were not the product of a rigorous, transparent and neutral scientific process.
Indeed, contrary to the CAA and the Information Quality Act (“IQA”), EPA largely ceded its obligation to make a “judgment” as to whether GHGs may endanger public health and welfare to the IPCC, an international body that is not subject to U.S. data quality and transparency standards and whose reports were prepared in direct disregard of those standards. As a result, EPA is set to begin regulating GHG emissions based on a scientific process that was conducted without the basic procedural safeguards set forth in U.S. law to ensure the reliability and accuracy of the scientific conclusions underlying the Agency’s Endangerment Finding. As an agency of the United States, however, whose regulatory actions will have far-reaching consequences for U.S. citizens, EPA must abide by U.S. standards and not the standards of international bodies whose actions are governed by different norms.
Accordingly, the EPA should reconsider its Endangerment Finding in light of the recently discovered defects in the IPCC’s procedures and convene full evidentiary hearings to provide an open and fair reconsideration process.
It looks like the basis for the case is that the EPA ruling falls foul of the Information Quality Act also known as the Data Quality Act. This legislation was specifically introduced to deal with ‘junk science’ and progressives hate it. Chris Mooney has a long discussion on the legislation in his The Republican War on Science (I’ve lent my copy out and it is a good read, even if incredibly biased and wrong-headed). Here is Mooney in the Washington Monthly complaining about it.
A ‘junk science’ ruling against the IPCC and the CRU would be devastating. It would also be problematic for what is an important avenue of research. Ideally the EPA, and more importantly the Obama Administration, will back away from the issue and pursue their legislative program in the market of ideas and in the Congress.