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Inhofe seeks inquiry on utility MACT science
December 20, 2011

Posted by Matt Dempsey

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Inhofe seeks inquiry on utility MACT science

By Erica Martinson

12/20/11 5:28 AM EST

Link to Article

Sen. Jim Inhofe wants EPA’s inspector general to find out why the agency won’t answer his questions about its mercury and air toxics rule for power plants.

Inhofe (R-Okla.) sent a letter to the IG Monday asking for an investigation into numerous questions about the scientific assessments EPA used in its proposed utility MACT rule, which the agency signed Friday.

The lawmaker asked those questions of EPA directly but it has not responded, Inhofe said.

Now he’s pushing for the IG to investigate whether the agency is “adhering to existing EPA and [White House Office of Management and Budget] guidelines with respect to peer review of important scientific and technical documents and underpinning significant rulemakings,” the letter says.

It’s a familiar tactic for Inhofe.

Inhofe previously got the IG to investigate the science surrounding the agency’s “endangerment finding” on carbon dioxide pollution, which underpins several greenhouse gas rules.

Opponents of that finding are trying to enter the resulting inspector general report as evidence in a federal appellate court case that could invalidate the endangerment rule — which could lead to several other greenhouse gas regulations facing the same fate.

Inhofe asks the IG to “build on” the Sept. 26 endangerment finding report “to address what I believe to be a systematic problem with the agency: the blatant disregard for procedures that are designed to protect the public interest and the integrity of the science that underpins the agency’s most significant rules.”

Inhofe is concerned that the EPA relied too heavily on its own clean air scientific advisory committee, avoiding more rigorous outside peer review.

And he asks the IG to examine whether EPA took the appropriate steps to ensure that its peer reviewers are “impartial and independent of EPA as required by OMB and EPA policy.”


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