- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 29, 2014

At the forefront of the climate science debate, the Environmental Protection Agency has few safeguards to prevent fraudulent data from contaminating its scientific reviews and studies, a new report said.

The agency’s processes for identifying and removing fraudulent data are all out of date, and the EPA has little ability to identify fraudulent data or to “review and amend, if possible, past environmental decisions that were based on fraudulent data,” said the department’s internal watchdog, the inspector general.

“The EPA lacks a due diligence process for potential fraudulent environmental data,” the watchdog said.

There is currently very little way to identify info from laboratories that might have been deliberately fabricated, altered or manipulated, investigators said. The EPA isn’t planning on revamping its policies until 2017, but the IG said change is needed before then.

“Given the EPA’s reliance on laboratory data and the potential human health and environmental impacts of fraudulent data going unaddressed, the EPA should take steps to strengthen program controls and processes,” investigators said.

EPA officials argued that “that no actual fraud was found or identified in the report,” but said they were always working to improve the oversight process of scientific research.

But the IG said it did mention a prominent recent example of fraud: The government hired contractor Intertek Testing Services to analyze the safety of hazardous waste sites. Between 1994 and 1997, the company looked at 59,000 polluted sites across the country — and was paid $35.7 million for its work. Investigators later found, however, that some of the data had been manipulated.

“Falsifying test results related to potential routes of human exposure can create risk of serious medical problems, including increased risk of cancer,” the IG said.

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