EPA’s “North Star” (aka: Science) Gets Another Poor Grade from National Academies
Four days after Administrator McCarthy says EPA science is under “assault by small but vocal group of critics” National Academies’ science panel criticizes
May 2, 2014

U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, made the following statement regarding today's release of the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies report entitled, "Review of the Environmental Protection Agency's State-of-the-Science Evaluation of Nonmonotonic Dose-Response Relationships as They Apply to Endocrine Disruptors." The report reviewed scientific work product of multiple offices within the EPA, showing widespread deficiencies with scientific integrity at the Agency, broader than prior reports focused just on the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program.

The review comes just days after EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy spoke to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a member of the National Academies, proclaiming that science is the EPA's "North Star." The report today contradicts claims by Administrator McCarthy earlier in the week on the quality of science conducted and relied upon by the Agency.

"The North Star is ironically one of the most visible," Vitter said. "A better astronomical term for the EPA's science would be a black hole. The EPA keeps much of their science completely secret, and what science they do submit for independent analysis is again described by the National Academy as inconsistent, insufficient and lacking transparency."

The National Academies report reiterated that EPA's science lacks transparency, quality of approaches, often includes inconsistencies, provides insufficient documentation, contains no clear description of a strategy or criteria for assessing scientific research, and fails to sufficiently justify conclusions.

Click here for the full National Academies report.

Excerpts of the National Academies review of EPA's scientific work product:

• "The lack of transparency and the inconsistencies raise questions about the quality of the approaches used."
• "EPA's evaluation provided insufficient documentation of the analyses that led to the conclusions."
• "A lack of transparency and a lack of consistency were identified as two critical limitations of EPA's evaluation."
• "Inconsistencies were found in the methods used to identify studies for consideration."
• "EPA's conclusions are not well supported."
• "A higher standard of evaluation is required."
• "The committee could find no clear description of a strategy or criteria for assessing the studies used in the evaluation."
• "Methods that provide a more systematic approach and greater transparency are necessary, or it will be too easy to dismiss the analysis as superficial or even biased in the literature selection and evaluation."

 

Excerpts from Administrator McCarthy's speech at the NAS on Monday, April 28:

• "That's why it's worrisome that our science seems to be under constant assault by a small -- but vocal -- group of critics."
• "That critics of EPA's lack of transparency and sound science were "playing a dangerous game by discrediting the sound science"
• "If EPA is being accused of ‘secret science' because we rely on real scientists to conduct research, and independent scientists to peer review it, and scientists who've spent a lifetime studying the science to reproduce it - then so be it."
• "People and businesses around the world look to EPA and other federal agencies because our science is reliable, and our scientists are credible."

-30-




Majority Office
410 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg.Washington, DC 20510-6175
phone: 202-224-6176
Minority Office
456 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg.Washington, DC 20510-6175
phone: 202-224-8832