EPA Denies Reconsideration Petitions

The EPA, as expected, has denied the various petitions for reconsideration of their Endangerment Finding. They refer to the various “inquiries” on some points. Interesting reading here


  1. Gary
    Posted Jul 29, 2010 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

    The petitions to reconsider EPA’s “Endangerment Finding” claimed that climate science can’t be trusted, and asserted a conspiracy that calls into question the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Exit EPA disclaimer, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Exit EPA disclaimer, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

    Sure, erect a strawman and knock him down. Case closed.

    • Doug Badgero
      Posted Jul 29, 2010 at 7:43 PM | Permalink

      This is merely the inevitable result of the first step of a long process. It will be challenged in the courts, on multiple grounds.

  2. Scott Brim
    Posted Jul 29, 2010 at 5:30 PM | Permalink

    What has been done here by the EPA’s lawyers is not unlike what the Department of Energy’s lawyers have done in claiming that DOE has authority to arbitrarily cancel the Yucca Mountain project, in clear violation of the meaning, intent, and past interpretation of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, thus derailing an established twenty-five year science-driven process for studying and siting a geologic nuclear waste repository.

    With this document, the EPA’s lawyers have constructed an Issue Rectifier Circuit (IRC).

    The petitioners have been IRC-ed by the EPA; i.e., all their arguments which cast doubt upon the endangerment finding process and upon the science used to support the endangerment finding have been arbitrarily twisted, reinterpreted, and converted by the EPA’s lawyers into arguments which confirm both the EPA’s finding and the science itself.

    In the history of government regulation, have there ever been two more blatant attempts than these — DOE’s Yucca Mountain cancellation decision and the EPA’s CO2 endangerment finding decision — at reverse engineering a science-driven public policy process into a politics-driven public policy process?

  3. Dave L.
    Posted Jul 29, 2010 at 7:25 PM | Permalink

    I am not certain I can stomach reading these reports in entirity, but for starters:

    “Throughout the Denial and the three volumes of this RTP document, EPA references the conclusions of five recent inquiries and investigations regarding the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) e-mails and the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).”

    Amazingly, the UK House of Commons, Oxburgh, Muir Russell, Penn State, and Dutch inquires become recognized authorities in the eyes of the EPA.

  4. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jul 29, 2010 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

    You USA citizens have got some work ahead of you. I’ve been reading selected parts of the EPA rejection and there are abundant demonstrable errors.

    In some matters, when the USA sneezes, the rest of the world catches colds.

    You will have to organize procedures somehow, but much of what I saw as plain wrong has already been raised by Steve and others on Climate Audit. You have starting material in this beautiful, accurate site. I do hope you can draw from it to complete the process of deconstruction of the fabrication.

    • Don McIlvin
      Posted Jul 29, 2010 at 10:45 PM | Permalink

      A plain reading shows it is not a scientific assessment, but a political one. However, the organized procedure to address this already exists – in our constitution.

      • WA777
        Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

        Re: Don McIlvin (Jul 29 22:45),
        “Political”? Who would have thought that from our “Public Servants”?

        Kazman, Sam. Letter to Environmental Protection Agency. “Re: Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0171,” June 23, 2009.

        Email # 3: March 17 email from Mr. McGartland to Mr. Carlin, stating that he will not forward Mr. Carlin’s study.
        “The time for such discussion of fundamental issues has passed for this round. The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision.
        …. I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office.”.

        The report that so annoyed Mr. McGartland is available here:

        Carlin, Alan. “Comments on Proposed EPA Endangerment Technical Support Document.” Scientific Blog. Carlin Economics and Science, July 9, 2009. http://www.carlineconomics.com/archives/1

  5. brent
    Posted Jul 29, 2010 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

    Under The Clean Water Act, EPA Says It Can Require Dairy Farmers to Develop and Implement Costly Milk Spill Prevention Plans Because Milk Contains Animal Fat – An OiL


  6. Don McIlvin
    Posted Jul 29, 2010 at 10:40 PM | Permalink

    Endangerment implies negative impact. I live in the North East US, and examined the “impact”. The document referenced by the US government EPA front page is case # 1 to support the endangerment finding. Yet it fails to even mention that a warmer climate should reduce winter heating costs. How can this be claimed as an objective assessment when an obvious “benefit” of warming is not even considered?

    • WA777
      Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

      Re: Don McIlvin (Jul 29 22:40),

      The EPA itself is an Endangerment.

      Consider that the insistence on fluorescent light bulbs
      1. Introduces mercury to the household (don’t drop one).
      2. Forgoes the home heating value of the incandescent bulbs in the winter.

  7. stereo
    Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 3:41 AM | Permalink

    What do you think, Steve? Do you think they are right or wrong, and why?

    Steve: I’ve only taken a quick look at the documents. Please understand that I like watching hard-fought sports events and that I find the manoeuvres in this sort of battle to be interesting in themselves.

  8. Hu McCulloch
    Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 8:11 AM | Permalink

    Of the alleged errors, EPA confirmed only two in a 3,000 page report. The first pertains to the rate of Himalayan glacier melt and second to the percentage of the Netherlands below sea level. IPCC issued correction statements for both of these errors.

    In fact, the IPCC did not really correct the 2035 Hialayan glacier melt error — its online statement merely acknowledges that the paragraph containing this prediction contains an unspecified assertion that was not properly backed by a reference to a primary source.

    This leaves open the possibility that the assertion was correct or approximately correct, but that they had merely made the procedural error of taking it from a second hand source instead of digging down to the primary source as they were supposed to.

    The 2035 prediction still stands in the online version of AR4 WG1, with no crossout or other indication on the page in question that it has been retracted.

  9. EdeF
    Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 9:01 AM | Permalink

    The Pacific Legal Foundation’s brief is largely concerned with the fall-out from Climategate. Interesting that the EPA uses the results of the various non-investigations into CG as their rebuttal.

  10. Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

    snip – this sort of political comment is not permitted here

  11. Bob Hamilton
    Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 11:57 AM | Permalink

    Steve, I believe you have been quoted as saying that you support actions by governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Is this correct? I would be interested in the reasoning behind your position.

    Steve: i’ve avoided discussion of policy here so that the blog doesn’t turn into a political discussion and don’t wish to debate my own views. I’ve said on many occasions that I have no objections to governments making decisions in respect to climate without perfect certainty. People make decisions all the time with unquantifiable uncertainty. I’ve also said that if I were a Minister of the Environment, I would feel bound by the obligations of the office to make decisions according to advice that I received from responsible institutions rather than what I might presently think as an individual, but would do what I could to ensure that the institutions were meeting their obligations of due diligence and disclosure. I think that there are practical energy policies where people can reach agreement despite differences of opinion on climate e.g. some people worried about energy in the future or with trade deficits might find common cause with people who are worried about climate.

    As a citizen, my instinct is that if climate is in fact a big problem, most proposed policies are unlikely to accomplish anything relevant towards their ostensible goal and, in that respect, Hansen and I would have considerable common ground.

    But these are nothing more than opinions. I haven’t studied the policy options in sufficient detail to have strong views on the matter and I don’t want to debate theses issues. And will delete any attempts to debate these points.

  12. stan
    Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 1:52 PM | Permalink

    This is the EPA. The EPA refused to let skimmers take oil out of the water in the Gulf because the resulting water wasn’t pure enough. Any organization which thinks water polluted with oil is better than water with 99% of said oil removed is clearly insane.

    • Rattus Norvegicus
      Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

      That’s just bull. The “A Whale” just didn’t really work that well and cost a ton to operate. They tested it for quite a while, but apparently the technology has a ways to go.

      • Clark
        Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

        Except it wasn’t the ‘A Whale’ that was the primary victim of the kafka-esque EPA rules. The Dutch had skimmers ready to go, and were rejected on these grounds.

        • Rattus Norvegicus
          Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

          You know, I searched the web, but the only references I could find to this seem to come from blogs. Nothing in the press at all. You would think there might be something. If you have a link to a reputable press outlet (NYT, WaPo, CBS, NBC, ABC, Times-Picyune (NOLA)) anything at all that can confirm that this is the case, please provide it.

        • Spence_UK
          Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

          The original article seems to come from Radio Netherlands Worldwide, a Dutch public service broadcaster, here:


          An article in the Washington Post suggests that the Dutch skimmers were finally accepted in late May, and were in place by mid-June, but apparently the skimmers were made available from late April so it does suggest an unnecessary bureaucratic delay of about a month. Washington Post article:


        • Ixtoc
          Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

          Does Radio Netherlands Worldwide count?


        • Not Sure
          Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

          Your Google-fu is not strong:



        • Rattus Norvegicus
          Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 10:25 PM | Permalink

          OK, I’ll buy that. In late April the government was still believing BP. However, the WaPo article does not support the EPA hyposthesis and seems to lay the blame on a combination of government still believing the BP claim of the discharge rate and BP not wanting to pay for the additional help. The WSJ piece is an Op-Ed and I learned about 25 years ago, when I was a subscriber to the print edition to take the WSJ Op-Eds with about a ton of salt. The FP article is once again an Op-Ed by Lawrence Solomon, someone I personally would not trust.

          That leaves the two RNL links. The one posted by Ixtoc points to an article (the first one) which posits the refusal to “pride” and the one pointed to by Spence_UK is an interview with Weird Knoops who says it is because of EPA regs. He also says that the capacity of their skimmers is 9600m^3 per day (24 hour period). I don’t know what that converts to in BBl/day, can anyone help with the conversion?

          Knoop does make some very good points about how bad our ability to respond to a major spill is, points that the hated environmentalist groups have been making for years in regards to this, a point which is echoed in the WaPo article, which pointed out that BP would have to pick up the tab on this, rather than the gov’t just doing it and sending the bill to BP. We should have learned something from the Exxon Valdez incident, but instead what we did was limit the liability of an oil company faced with a catastrophe such as this.

          Given the penchant of the US press to find anything wrong with the response, I would have thought that if the EPA had actually turned down the offer because they had silly, counterproductive, regulations in place for spill response that it would have been reported somewhere. It wasn’t however which would lead to me reason that the “pride” in addition to believing the BP BS until the video went online and people (scientists, BTW) who knew something about this got a look and pointed out that the 5,000BBL claim was ridiculous woke them up.

          BTW, my google-fu did pick up Spence_UK’s RNL link, but I was pretty specific in looking for the term “EPA” in my search. It still seems like an urban legend based on the speculation by a single person, there really is reporting which backs this up.

          Steve: this blog was relatively early in estimating that discharge rates appeared to be much higher than prevalent early estimates. There are posts on this topic. I was very critical early on about what appeared to be overestimates of skimming capacity in the response plans (where you can find conversions from metric to barrels as well).

          Also as I read the National COntingency Plan Act, the EPA had statutory responsibility for having a response plan regardless of BP’s capability and, despite what seems to be considerable negligence on EPA’s part in complying with their obligations under the National Contingency Plan Act, EPA has thus far got off with little public criticism.

        • Rattus Norvegicus
          Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 10:28 PM | Permalink

          Um, that should be “there really is *no* reporting”.

        • Rattus Norvegicus
          Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 11:15 PM | Permalink

          Steve, maybe some links. I seem to recall that your estimates were on the low side given the first unofficial, but non-BP, expert assessments.

          I am also surprised that you are a lawyer expert in US Environmental law. Given the complexities that I have found in the interactions between statute, definitions, regulations, administrative civil and criminal law in even relatively simple areas of law (such as employment law or auto insurance liability law) I would be surprised if you actually do understand it. Did you at least look at Westlaw? There are reasons that lawyers use it. Did you check to see if there were any administrative law decisions which might have affected the response plan? How about decisions in civil or criminal law?

        • Rattus Norvegicus
          Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 11:49 PM | Permalink

          BTW, I did a quick (about 45 minute) perusal of the relevant regulations as promulgate in the Federal Register in July of 1994 and it seems pretty clear that the law, as implemented, put the onus of having an effective response plan under the OPA (Oil Pollution Act) on the owner/operators of facilities which could cause a substantial discharge. I have not looked at the applicable sections of the CFR, but in general publication in the the Federal Register represents the final regulations. The EPA has taken a lot of grief, properly IMHO, for rubber stamping BP’s response plan — hardly what you asserted in your reply to my comment.

        • Rattus Norvegicus
          Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 1:32 AM | Permalink

          Steve, I went back and found your post from late May. Your friend’s estimate was much better than that in your update. I especially enjoyed your first update about how “top kill” was successful (never amended).

          I also note that your post was after the “notorious” NPR report (even Michael Tobis was ragging on them for it) which pegged it more or less correctly at 70,000 BBL/day. I guess blog “science” fails again. To your credit you did provide an update three weeks later which pointed to the more generally accepted figure of 60,000 BBL/day. At any rate, the Dutch skimmers had a capacity of about 60 BBL/day (9600m^3/159m^3), not much in the grand scheme of things. Well, since they offered three skimmers I suppose you could say 180 BBL/day, hardly what was necessary even with the initial flow rate propaganda.

        • Spence_UK
          Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 4:03 AM | Permalink

          Mocking Steve for his calculations when you appear unable to tell the difference between a litre and a cubic metre has resulted in my irony meter being pegged firmly at FSD.

        • Rattus Norvegicus
          Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 5:57 AM | Permalink

          Ooops, I screwed the pooch on that one. Looks like I was off by a factor of 1000.

          In which case I don’t believe the Dutch claims, or perhaps Mr. Knoop misspoke because 60000 BBL a day is miraculous. This seems odd for a single boom which could have been (as some claim) transported to the US in a couple of days. Something is wrong here.

          On listening to the Knoop interview once again, is he referring to water+oil or just oil? If it is water+oil, I can believe that. Reference to an actual performance evaluation which shows that it is 60000 BBL/day of oil? For a single boom?

          Quite frankly, even at your link, I don’t see anything which supports a claim of 60000 BBL/day. The link you provided seems to be, excuse me for using the term, pimping the use of Dutch skimmers. Googling for “Dutch Oil Spills” and variants shows that the Dutch have not had to deal with any notable spills. This makes me even more leary of Knoop’s claims.

          Now the link you provided claimed (probably correctly) that the use of dispersent (Corexit, in this case) is worse than the oil itself. Well, there have been a lot of the evil “environmentalists” who agree with that. But I still don’t see any evidence that a single boom from the Dutch can suck up 60000 BBL/day.

          To sum up:

          Primo. I was not making fun of Steve’s calculations. I take them at face value. His updated values were seriously wrong and his friend was much closer to correct. Note that NPR (the rate he credits to Worley) story was aired before his post on this. I did make fun of Steve’s credulousness when he accepted the sadly incorrect input of his followers.

          Secundo. Steve bought into the BP propaganda. It is right there in the first update. Quite frankly, I was wondering if Steve was right or if my lyin’ eyes were right. My lyin’ eyes were right, “Top Kill” was blowing up at pretty much the same time Steve said it was successful.

          Tertio. I got the calculation wrong (metric system impaired here, I’m American). On the other hand, Knoop’s claim is screwy and it does not appear the Dutch have had to deal with a really large spill. But, there is no evidence that the EPA dissed the Dutch because of stupid regulations, which was the point of this portion of the thread.

          Steve: I was sharply critical of the BP response plan. The Top Kill failure was obviously in the news and discussed in comments. The idea that I accepted anyone’s propaganda on this file is nonsense.

        • Spence_UK
          Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 6:15 AM | Permalink

          Rattus, it sounds like you need someone to audit Koops (or is it Knoops?) claims. I can recommend someone with glowing references, but since he would probably rather work on other things, I reckon you’d have to pay him handsomely for his time 😉

          I also think you missed the point of Steve’s post where he did his leak rate calcs. I don’t think he was claiming his calcs were terribly accurate. The main point that I took from his post was the lack of transparency in the figures calculated both by BP and the US coastguard that prevented any kind of reconciliation of the disparity. This was really a criticism of both BP and the US coastguard. You’ll see that, by being transparent, Steve’s calculations were quickly criticised by many in the post. These criticisms were a mixture of people correcting errors, identifying weaknesses in the assumptions, and people trying to shut the debate down. With the exception of those trying to stifle debate, all of these comments added to everyone’s understanding, showing the power of transparency with an open audience that contains many intelligent readers. Even the comments that contain errors, as they are usually swiftly corrected, as you have done here.

          Postscript: I may have to slap Monckton if I ever meet him, for making this whole “primo” thing popular.

        • ianl8888
          Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

          “You would think there might be something.”

          Well, you might – I’m more grown up

          Soft-left Aus media outlets (eg. SMH, ABC) managed to skate through the last NH winter without once informing their audiences of the huge geographical spread of the severest winter conditions in 60 years. Some limited reporting of individual sites occurred – and that was all, she wrote

          You would have thought there may have been something … ho-hum

  13. Bad Bad Andrew
    Posted Jul 30, 2010 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

    “a reputable press outlet (NYT, WaPo, CBS, NBC, ABC…)”

    I’m sorry, are these supposed to be examples of reputable press outlets in the parentheses? 😉


  14. stereo
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 2:30 AM | Permalink

    Steve: I’ve only taken a quick look at the documents. Please understand that I like watching hard-fought sports events and that I find the manoeuvres in this sort of battle to be interesting in themselves.

    But do you think the EPA is right, that is the most important point, and the actual interest in the ‘battle’. I think they are, they seem to have a good understanding of the science, and answer the questions well.

  15. stereo
    Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 2:22 AM | Permalink

    Still waiting to hear your opinion on this.

  16. stereo
    Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 3:56 PM | Permalink

    Putting up a topic just to attract some snark can be classed as trolling. What is your actual problem with the EPA’s stance on AGW?

  17. Doug Badgero
    Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

    Stereo, my problem, and I am actually a US citizen,

    The statutory precedent requires stationary sources emitting greater than 250 tons to be regulated. The proposed rule making will apply to stationary sources emitting greater than 25,000 tons. This will be challenged in court.

    The science will also be challenged. There will be multiple judicial challenges, I suspect.

  18. stereo
    Posted Aug 2, 2010 at 3:57 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for that, but I was wondering what Mr McIntyre thinks, since the whole point of this ongoing issue is the science, not the soap opera of the political manouvering.

    • Posted Aug 2, 2010 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

      If I really thought, in reference to AGW, that the EPA chair actually cared about the scientific outcome, I might agree with you.

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