Specifically, John Beale took ownership of the 1997 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Ozone and Particulate Matter, the science behind which has led to a litany of new regulations now causing economic harms, including the closure of some coal plants. The calculations have been used to shut down certain plants and regulate many everyday economic activities.
Key Points from the Report:
• Robert Brenner recruited John Beale to work at EPA based solely on their personal relationship, not on Beale's credentials. Beale had no environmental, economics or science experience, yet he started at the highest pay scale for general service employees and was put in charge of Agency's efforts on major environmental issues.
• Beginning in 1995, Beale and Brenner led EPA's internal process to NAAQS for Ozone and Particulate Matter (PM). The duo set in motion "EPA's Playbook," a strategy to game the system by compressing the interagency review via a friendly sue-and-settle arrangement, relying on secret science, and inflating dubious benefits while underestimating real economic costs.
• Beale used his leadership on the NAAQS as justification for nearly all of his monetary awards and promotions. Beale's colleagues lionized him for his prominent leadership role in the NAAQS process, which paved the way for his future lies and abuse at the Agency.
• The 1997 NAAQS was a turning point for environmental regulation as EPA sought to regulate fine particulates (PM2.5) for the first time, despite a lack of scientific consensus on the integrity of the science. The underlying data EPA relied upon came from the Harvard "Six Cities" and American Cancer Society (ACS II) studies, which were and remain controversial. EPA's own scientific advisors warned that there were significant uncertainties with the science and requested the underlying data. The data was never made public, and EPA has continued to rely upon this secret science to justify the vast majority of all Clean Air Act (CAA) regulations issued to this day.
• EPW Republicans have made transparency, including access to the underlying data in CAA rules, a priority throughout Gina McCarthy's confirmation process. This underlying data is the same science Beale used in the 1997 PM NAAQS. While the EPA finally agreed to initiate the process of acquiring and turning over the secret data on July 9, 2013, this process has been slow going and not been completed.
• Even after Beale pled guilty to government theft of nearly $900,000, pursuant to a plea agreement covering his crimes from 2000 to 2013, several of Beale's former colleagues continued to advocate for Beale. These officials' reaction to the scandal suggests that an individual can steal from taxpayers and perpetrate a crime for over two decades, but still be considered - by some - as an environmental legend.
• President Obama's EPA has resurrected EPA's Playbook with zeal, resulting in dire consequences for some Americans. The New York Times reported on the story of an 81-year-old Ohio resident, a diabetic with deteriorating health living on a fixed income. She, along with many Americans, now struggles to pay her energy bills as a result of EPA air regulations that have shut down electricity generation in her part of the country. The legacy of John Beale lives on through real world consequences like this, even though the man himself is currently behind bars.