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A new letter to the National Research Council of the National Science Academies is questioning how a board where 13 of 19 members have significant financial or other links to the Environmental Protection Agency can deliver an unbiased decision on apparently unethical and possibly illegal behavior by the federal bureaucracy.

WND reported a day ago that while the EPA has been arguing for years that small particulates such as diesel engine emissions and the smokestack vapor from coal-fired power plants are killing Americans, the agency at the same time was subjecting humans to those very elements in tests.

A policy brief submitted to the National Research Council by the Heartland Institute said the EPA has been “sponsoring experiments on human subjects involving exposures to small particle air pollution that EPA has declared publicly and repeatedly to be toxic, lethal, and carcinogenic.”

“This creates a dilemma for EPA: Either it broke the law by sponsoring human experiments forbidden under law and medical ethics, or its repeated claims to Congress and the American people about the health threat of exposure to low levels of particulate matter were a lie.”

So a board was assembled to listen to concerns – and then reach a conclusion about the EPA’s activities.

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But a letter dispatched Wednesday by Steve Milloy, who has been an attorney for the SEC, an investment manager, a coal company executive and operates online under the name Junk Science, raised additional questions.

He was one of the experts whose testimony was presented to the National Research Council only a week ago on the ethics of the EPA’s practices.

Now in a letter to William Farland, chief of the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology of the NRC, he challenges the neutrality of the members who heard the arguments.

“I am asking you to describe how you will ensure that apparent personal, professional and institutional conflicts of interest on the committee and on the Board on Environmental Studies & Toxicology will not result in a whitewash of the EPA’s unethical, if not illegal experiments on human subjects,” he wrote.

Milloy noted in his letter the various members of the board with links to the EPA:

  • Chairman Farland is a former EPA deputy assistant administrator for science.
  • Member Praveen Amar is the principal investigator on EPA extramural research grants worth $2.9 million.
  • Member Dominic DiToro develops regulatory criteria for EPA.
  • Member David Dorman is the principal investigator on EPA extramural research grants worth nearly $19 million.
  • Member Charles Driscoll is the PI on grants worth $7.4 million.
  • Member Lilnda Greer is an official at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
  • Member Steen Hambur is chief scientist of the Environmental Defense Fund.
  • Member Philip Hopke is PI on EPA grants worth $17.5 million.
  • Member Scott Matthews is PI on grants worth $10 million.
  • Member Joan Rose is PI on grants worth $16.5 million.
  • Member Gina Solomon is a member of EPA’s Science Advisory Board.
  • Member Robert Sussman is a former senior policy counsel to the EPA administrator.
  • Member Deborah Swackhamer is PI on grants worth $6.2 million.

“Thus, 13 of the BEST’s 19 members have demonstrably significant professional and financial ties to the EPA and to EPA-funded activist groups,” he pointed out.

He suggested in the letter that “EPA appears to have quietly (if not actually covertly) contracted with the National Research Council to rehabilitate the image of the EPA’s human experiments program, which had been criticized in a March 2014 report by the EPA Office of Inspector General.”

He said the committee tried to cover up the “non-public nature” by “belatedly accepting comments.”

He said he was happy to provide information, but he remains “concerned that the committee will simply rubber-stamp the EPA’s” conduct.

Milloy previously had raised the question of a “whitewash.”

He pointed out that comments were avoided by the National Research Council for nearly a year, and by that time “much of the NAS report has already been written.”

The concerns about the EPA’s actions and the NRC’s role had been raised by officials with the Heartland Institute.

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“Either EPA has been lying all along – and low levels of small particulars from coal-fired power plants and other sources do not constitute a public health hazard, and do not warrant the costly, draconian, extremely strict standards that EPA is imposing, or the agency and its hired researchers are guilty of violating legal and ethical standards by having human test subjects (including people with heart and respiratory problems, senior citizens, and even children) breathe what the agency claims are dangerous, carcinogenic, toxic, and lethal air contaminants,” said Paul Driessen, a senior policy adviser with the organization.

“EPA cannot have it both ways, and the National Academy of Sciences and its National Research Council must not allow EPA to do so. Moreoever, either way, EPA officials have clearly violated their oaths of office, by misleading the public and their test subjects.

“There have to be repercussions for this,” he said.

Dr. John Dale Dunn, M.D., wrote a policy brief submitted to the NRC over the EPA’s “sponsoring experiments on human subjects involving exposures to small particle air pollution that EPA has declared publicly and repeatedly to be toxic, lethal, and carcinogenic.”

“This creates a dilemma for EPA: Either it broke the law by sponsoring human experiments forbidden under law and medical ethics, or its repeated claims to Congress and the American people about the health threat of exposure to low levels of particulate matter were a lie,” he said.

Dunn told WND, “I assert that ambient small particle air pollution is benign and isn’t killing anybody. In 45 years of medical practice I am still waiting for a death from small particle exposure. Unreliable epidemiology makes possible the scare about air pollution, but it is an empty vessel.”

He continued: “Epidemiology is not junk science, it’s just limited to be less than proof of causation because it is so uncontrolled, but epidemiology can become deceitful if done without recognizing the limits of the methods and the uncertainties. I see this US EPA air pollution research project – that has been funded by billions, from mostly government sources – as a gigantic deceit, built on uncontrolled observational studies and projecting non-proof small associations to create big claims of deaths in particular.”

Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast said the EPA has been “twisting” science for a long time but now will face the music.

“Assuming, that is, that the National Academy of Sciences doesn’t ignore its legal and ethical mandate to perform an honest evaluation of EPA’s misconduct.”

The EPA did not reply to a WND request for comment Wednesday.

Heartland Research Fellow on Energy Policy Bette Grande wrote: “It is very simple: EPA is either lying or it sponsors deadly human experiments. Either this is just another example of agenda-driven ‘findings’ or EPA is channeling Dr. Mengele. Which is it? If NAS is to have any credibility, this question must be asked and answered.”

Richard Trzupek, environment policy adviser at the institute, said the “root of this scandal is not about the ‘what,’ but about the ‘why.'”

“Over the decades, EPA’s primary mission has morphed from preservation of the environment and protection of human health into preservation of the EPA and protection of its funding,” he said.

“In that context, the agency cannot allow the story of the ‘great clean up’ – America’s incredibly successful efforts to drastically reduce air, water, and ground pollution over the last 50 years – to be become part of our national narrative. The EPA needs a continuing crisis, or rather the appearance of a continuing crisis, in order to justify its self-proclaimed mission and funding.”

 

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