Friday, December 23, 2016

E-mails expose EPA’s corrupt process for selecting science adviser

By Steve Milloy @

Last October, the EPA selected Donna Kenski to fill an open slot on its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC).

We just received 450 pages of e-mails from the EPA via the Freedom of Information Act covering Kenski’s selection.

They illustrate the need to #DrainTheSwamp.

JunkScience first reported last October on the EPA’s dubious process for selecting Kenski.

The The 450 pages of e-mails basically include the nominations for the open CASAC slot, miscellaneous questions/answers about the process, recommendations for nominees, and the final selection and acceptance of Kenski.

As reported in October, EPA received 83 recommendations for the relatively short list of nominees. While Michael Honeycutt, Director of the Toxicology Division of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, received 60 of the recommendations Kenski only received one — or rather part of one. And here it is (note highlighted text).
So Kenski was recommended as a “good choice” amid three other “good choices.” The recommendation came from a Bachelor’s-degreed Vermont state official, Rich Poirot, who is affiliated with the EPA Science Advisory Board as a consultant on air quality and climate. Nothing too special about Poirot or his recommendation of Kenski.
In contrast, just some of Honeycutt’s recommendations include:
  • Scott Thompson, Executive Director, Oklahoma Dept. of Environmental Quality: Honeycutt is ‘a respected toxicologust and risk assessor with a wide breadth of experience in both environmental science and public policy.’
  • Ciriaco Valdez-Flores, PhD, PE, Processor, Texas A&M University: ‘Dr. Honeycutt has always worked in the interest of human health.’
  • Ivan Rusyn, MD, PhD, Professor, Texas A&M University: ‘I highly recommend that Dr. Honeycutt be appointed to CASAC… I have an utmost respect for Dr. Honeycutt even when I have disagreed with him on several occasions.’
  • Todd Anderson, PhD, Texas Tech University: Dr. Honeycutt ‘is an effective and level headed decision-maker who is able to balance scientific issues with economic and social concerns.’
  • Lucy Frasier, PhD, DABT, Principal, Zephyr Environmental Corporation: ‘I do not know of any state agency representative that is able to better provide unbiased strategic advice to the EPA.’
  • Seyed Sadredin, Executive Director, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District: Dr. Honeycutt ‘is well-versed in the literature dealing with the health effects of air pollution and has a proven record of applying risk assessment principles to regulatory decisions that are health protective yet economically and technially feasible.’
There are many more — 54 to be exact — expressing similar sentiments about Honeycutt from knowledgable people.

And while no commenter spoke ill of Dr. Honeycutt, the same cannot be said for Kenski.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) pointed out that Kenski is not impartial. In 2008, Kenski participated in a letter ridiculing then-EPA administrator Stephen Johnson for not following CASAC’s recommendation for the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone. This action was partisan and overstepped the statutory authority of CASAC.

Nevertheless on October 7, 2016, the following e-mail was sent to Kenski:
This is the original Freedom of Information Act Request submitted to EPA by JunkScience:
I am requesting all the EPA staff e-mail (incoming and outgoing) and documents relating to the nomination and selection of Donna Kenski to the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee. E-mails and documents should include all those that mention/discuss any of the nominees. The period for this request is April 4, 2016 through October 7, 2016.
Despite the request for all e-mails/docuemnts, EPA provided nothing indicating any deliberative process for the nominees occurred at all — not even redacted documents. It’s hard to believe there is not more of a paper trail.

So EPA clearly withheld relevant documents/emails improperly. This failure supports the notion that its selection process is a rigged system. In any event, it is time to #DrainTheSwamp.

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