The EPA whistleblower saga took a new turn this week with a report that EPA was considering shutting down the agency unit in which Dr. Alan Carlin works. Dr. Carlin is the senior EPA analyst who authored a 100-page study last March, which severely criticized the scientific basis for the agency’s position on global warming. CEI broke the story in late June, when it unveiled a series of emails to Dr. Carlin from his boss, stating that his study would not be disclosed, and that Dr. Carlin was to stop working on global warming issues, because criticizing EPA’s position would only cause trouble.
Dr. Carlin works in EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE), whose function is, in its words, “analyzing the economic and health impacts of environmental regulations and policies, and … informing important policy decisions with sound economics and other sciences.” EPA has long been criticized for the tunnel-vision, cost-be-damned nature of many of its policies. (See, for example, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s 1995 book, Breaking the Vicious Circle: Toward Effective Risk Regulation, written before he joined the court.) Economists are the most likely professionals within EPA to examine the real-world effects of its policies. For that reason, the NCEE is potentially a major restraining force on the agency’s out-of-this-world regulatory ambitions. Wouldn’t it be great for EPA to get this office out of the way?
Hopefully, the publicity and scrutiny that Dr. Carlin’s report has received since it became public will carry over to EPA’s plans for NCEE, and this agency, with its hollow commitment to scientific integrity and transparency, won’t get its wish.