For Immediate Release: Oct 11, 2018
Contact: Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337
Agency Admits Lack of Evidence Supporting Alternative Climate Explanations
Washington, DC — The political position the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency now espouses on climate change does not match its scientific research, according to documents posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). EPA has just completed a multi-month search for any evidence contradicting the proposition that human activity is the primary driver of climate change and now admits that it has found virtually nothing of substance.
EPA conducted the search in response to a federal district court order in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by PEER last year. The organization wanted to know if then-Administrator Scott Pruitt had any evidence behind his public statements that human activity was not the main factor driving climate change. PEER also asked if EPA possessed any research supporting Pruitt’s position. Until the court ruling, EPA had refused to answer the PEER request, calling it “a trap” in its legal briefing.
In August, EPA questioned Pruitt before he vacated his office and Pruitt admitted that he had no data. Responding to the second part of the PEER request, an EPA lawyer sent PEER a letter dated October 9, 2018 which read:
“EPA completed the agreed-upon search for Part 2 of PEER’s FOIA request on August 8, 2018. First, the Agency completed the search of Outlook records….Second, EPA completed the remainder of the search for Part 2 in which EPA inquired if certain individuals within the Office of Air and Radiation, the Office of Research and Development, or the Office of Policy had any records responsive to your request….
Of the 1,037 Outlook records that EPA reviewed 11 were responsive to PEER’s request, as clarified. All 11 records were different versions of the same document. The document included EPA’s responses to multiple Questions for the Record that EPA received from members of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works following Administrator Pruitt’s testimony in front of the Committee on January 30, 2018. Today, EPA is releasing the final version of that document that was sent to Congress.”
“EPA knew from day one there was no needle in its research haystack,” stated PEER General Counsel Paula Dinerstein, noting that the only scientific information EPA could find were 2009 public comments submitted by a since-retired EPA employee. “The agency engaged in a prolonged, expensive snipe hunt to delay this inevitable admission.”
Ironically, the only official document EPA produced was Congressional correspondence, not scientific research. Of the 108 questions the Senate Committee posed, only three related to climate change. In his responses, Mr. Pruitt spoke of his desire to stage a “Red Team/Blue Team exercise” on climate science.
“The latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warns that we are running out of time but our Environmental Protection Agency fiddles as the atmosphere burns,” remarked Dinerstein, pointing to proposed EPA rollbacks on greenhouse gas limits at odds with the overwhelming weight of the scientific evidence it possesses. “Our suit demonstrated that today’s EPA has abandoned any pretense of being a fact-based agency.”