Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II on Wednesday blasted the Environmental Protection Agency in the wake of a recent inspector general´s report that found it failed to follow federal rules in its process of using climate change data to conclude greenhouse gases are a threat to human health.
Mr. Cuccinelli, a global warming skeptic, first petitioned the EPA in February 2010 to convene and reconsider its conclusion and filed a lawsuit in federal court in the wake of the “Climategate” scandal, in which researchers from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia were accused of manipulating climate data based on a number of stolen emails. A handful of investigations have cleared scientists of wrongdoing.
The agency noted that the report did not address the science at hand, merely processes and procedures.
“I fully expected supporters of the greenhouse gas endangerment finding would argue and will continue to argue that the violations identified in the investigation are only technicalities,” Mr. Cuccinelli said. “But these rules were put in place to guarantee that the regulatory process was not hijacked by a political agenda — by either party. Both scientists and government officials should operate in transparent ways, and the rules that the EPA failed to follow were designed to guarantee such transparency and to make certain that its conclusions were sound and based on the best available scientific data.”
Among a number of shortcomings, the report concluded that rather than performing its own research, the EPA relied on work done by others and did not determine whether the data met its own quality guidelines before distributing it.
The peer review panel also did not meet independence requirements because one of the panelists was an EPA employee, and the EPA did not adequately identify the level of scientific information it was using to support its action, the report said.