Tag Archives: EPA

HOT AIR: Scientists Say NOAA/NASA Fudging The Facts On 2014 Record Warmth

HOT AIR: Scientists Say NOAA/NASA Fudging The Facts On 2014 Record Warmth

Some climate scientists are criticizing government climate agencies for declaring 2014 the warmest year ever recorded, despite reports that government scientists were only 38-48 percent sure that 2014 broke records, given the margin of error.

Global Warming environmental carbonScientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA said 2014 was the warmest year on record at about 0.69 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average temperature. Last year beat out the next warmest years of 2010 and 2005 by only about 0.04 degrees Celsius. But the four-hundredths of a degree difference between 2014 and previous records is within the margin of measurement error, meaning scientists can’t be 100 percent sure last year was actually the hottest ever recorded.

Scientists with NOAA said 2014 only had a 48 percent probability of actually being the warmest year on record, while NASA only gave last year a 38 percent chance of being the warmest. But government climate scientists, environmentalists and politicians sounded the alarm that global warming was getting worse, hiding the many uncertainties behind NOAA and NASA temperature measurements.

“The data from NASA and NOAA is the latest scientific evidence that climate change is real, and we must act now to protect our families and future generations,” said California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer. “Deniers must stop ignoring these alarms if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”

Some climate scientists have been critical of NOAA and NASA’s claims that 2014 was the warmest year on record despite it actually being a “statistical tie.”

“With 2014 essentially tied with 2005 and 2010 for hottest year, this implies that there has been essentially no trend in warming over the past decade,” said Judith Curry, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “This ‘almost’ record year does not help the growing discrepancy between the climate model projections and the surface temperature observations.”

“I am embarrassed by the scientific community’s behavior on the subject,” wrote Dr. Roy Spencer, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). “I went into science with the misguided belief that science provides answers. Too often, it doesn’t.”

Spencer and his colleague Dr. John Christy operate one of two primary satellite datasets for measuring global temperature. According to Spencer and Christy’s UAH satellite data, 2014 only ranked as the third-warmest on record. The other main satellite temperature dataset, the Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) dataset, found that 2014 was only the sixth warmest on record.

“Science as a methodology for getting closer to the truth has been all but abandoned. It is now just one more tool to achieve political ends,” Spencer opined. “Reports that 2014 was the ‘hottest’ year on record feed the insatiable appetite the public has for definitive, alarming headlines. It doesn’t matter that even in the thermometer record, 2014 wasn’t the warmest within the margin of error.”

“The satellite and balloon data of the deep atmosphere have 2014 in a cluster of warmish years well below the hottest two of 1998 and 2010,” echoed Christy. “With the government agencies reporting that the surface temperature as highest ever, we have a puzzle. The puzzle is even more puzzling because theory (i.e. models) indicate the opposite should be occurring– greater warmth in the deep atmosphere than the surface.”

But other climate scientists say it doesn’t matter if 2014 is the warmest year on record or not, because it’s not nearly as warm as the climate models have predicted.

“Whether or not a given year is a hundredth of a degree or so above a previous record is not the issue,” said Patrick Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science at the libertarian Cato Institute. ”What is the issue is how observed temperatures compare to what has been forecast to happen.”

Michaels noted that studies have shown that “the average warming predicted to have occurred since 1979 (when the satellite data starts) is approximately three times larger than what is being observed.”

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Taxpayers Paid 8 EPA Employees $1 Million to Do Nothing

Taxpayers Paid 8 EPA Employees $1 Million to Do Nothing

OIG: EPA employees on paid administrative leave ‘for years’

AP

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) kept employees on paid administrative leave for years, costing taxpayers more than $1 million.

An “Early Warning” report released by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) on Wednesday revealed that eight employees racked up 20,926 hours of paid administrative leave, including some employees who were paid not to work for four years.

The eight employees cost taxpayers $1,096,868 alone. The report is in response to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) analysis released last month that found government-wide paid administrative leave cost $3.1 billion from 2011 and 2013.

The GAO report detailed that the EPA paid 69 employees to not work for 4,711 days between 2011 and 2013, costing $17,550,100.

The OIG analyzed paid leave for this year, focusing on eight employees who took the most paid leave. Half of the employees were on paid administrative leave for more than a year, including one EPA employee who was paid from May 2010 until September 2014, costing taxpayers $351,300.

The amount of paid leave taken by these employees may be higher, the OIG said, since several were missing timesheets during their period of paid leave.

The OIG report was categorized as addressing the goal of “Embracing EPA as a high-performing organization.”

The EPA allows for paid administrative leave for voting, funerals, donating blood, and bad weather. However, all eight employees were on paid administrative leave for at least four months.

The EPA’s leave manual offers no determination for what is considered an “acceptable amount of administrative leave.”

The OIG pointed out that employees could be placed on long-term paid leave for disciplinary reasons.

“The leave manual also provides that one authorized use of administrative leave is when an employee’s removal or indefinite suspension is proposed, and the employee’s continued presence at the work site during the notice period would constitute a threat to public property or the health and safety of coworkers or the public.”

The EPA has had to deal with employees who have threatened the work environment for their fellow workers before.

The OIG presented its findings to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on Oct. 30, and the agency is currently reviewing background information on the employees in question.

Obama Invited to Meet Coal Miners Losing Their Jobs Because of EPA Regulations

Obama Invited to Meet Coal Miners Losing Their Jobs Because of EPA Regulations

by CNSNews.com

Mike Kelly

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) holds up a copy of a letter he sent to President Barack Obama at a press conference on July 30, 2014 on Capitol Hill.

(CNSNews.com) – As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) holds public meetings this week on its latest round of proposed regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s fossil-fuel-fired power plants, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) said President Barack Obama should trade a trip to the golf course for a visit with coal miners across America who are losing their jobs.

“I’ve got an invitation here. This is a letter I sent to the president of the United States,” Kelly said on Wednesday at a press conference outside of the Capitol. “And this is an invitation for him to come to the coal nation.

“I want him to get off of the back nine and come into the mines,” Kelly said. “I want to get his golf cap off and get his hard hat on.”

On June 2, the EPA announced its Clean Power Plan “to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants.”

“Climate change, fueled by carbon pollution, supercharges risks to our health, our economy, and our way of life,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in the press release announcing the plan. “EPA is delivering on a vital piece of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan by proposing a Clean Power Plan that will cut harmful carbon pollution from our largest source – power plants.

“By leveraging cleaner energy sources and cutting energy waste, this plan will clean the air we breathe while helping slow climate change so we can leave a safe and healthy future for our kids,” McCarthy said.

On Monday, EPA announced a series of public meetings on the proposed rule, with the comment period before it becomes finalized ending on Oct. 16.

The executive summary of the rule states: “This rule, as proposed, would continue progress already underway to lower the carbon intensity of power generation in the United States (U.S.). Lower carbon intensity means fewer emissions of CO 2, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. This proposal is a significant step forward in the EPA and states partnering to reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions in the U.S.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) opened the Wednesday’s press conference by saying the EPA’s rules have already hurt people in his state.

“In Eastern Kentucky we’ve lost 7,000 coal mining jobs during the Obama years,” McConnell said. “It hasn’t always been that way – we actually gained over 3,000 during the Bush years.”

Jimmy Rose

Jimmy Rose, a finalist on season eight of the television series “America’s Got Talent,” sang his hit song ‘Coal Keeps the Lights On’ for lawmakers and reporters at a July 30, 2014 press conference on Capitol Hill. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

 

Then McConnell introduced Jimmy Rose, a finalist on season eight of the television series “America’s Got Talent,” who sang his hit song “Coal Keeps the Lights On.”

“They went plumb down crazy in Washington.
They’re talking about closing the mines.
They’re gonna bleed us all dry from the inside out.
They don’t care that much about the little man or the calloused hands.
It’s a way of life ’round, just like it’s always been.

Coal keeps the lights on.
My hometown keeps food on the spoon in my youngin’s mouth.
Tires on the truck and a sundress on my baby girl.
Coal keeps the bills paid, the clothes on the backs,
and shoes on the feet in the high school halls of the Mountain Lions
and the Bill County Bobcats on the hill.”

Rose, who is also a military veteran, got a rousing response to his song from both lawmakers and others at the press conference.

Then Kelly echoed Rose’s sentiments in his song by saying that coal is vital not only to coal miners and their families, but the U.S. economy.

“This is coal’s day in court,” Kelly said. “This is our chance to stand up and say what we believe in, what we know is right and what we know is true.

“And we know what is truly American about this,” Kelly said. “The workhorse of this nation’s economy has always been coal.”

Both McConnell and another Kentucky lawmaker – Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) – spoke at the press conference about the EPA’s unilateral actions on U.S. energy policy.

McConnell said even if coal production is increasing at rapid rates and without regulation in places like China and India, the United States is suffering under EPA rules.

“And yet here we are in our native country suffering from the policies of this administration and this EPA that’s out of control – as the federal courts have said – and leaving our people in desperate straits,” McConnell said. “It’s time for that to stop.”

Paul said Obama needs “to understand that in our country the legislature passes laws.

“The greenhouse law or regulation won’t pass Congress so he’s going around Congress,” Paul said.

“I say to the president, Come to our state and see the despair,” he added. “But also read the Constitution – this isn’t the way that it should be.”

130 Environmental Groups Call For An End To Capitalism

130 Environmental Groups Call For An End To Capitalism

 by the DailyCaller.com

 

Environmentalists have declared that global warming can’t be stopped without ending the “hegemonic capitalist system,” saying that cap-and-trade systems and conservation efforts are “false solutions.”

“The structural causes of climate change are linked to the current capitalist hegemonic system,” reads the final draft of the Margarita Declaration, presented at a conference including about 130 environmental groups.

“To combat climate change it is necessary to change the system,” the declaration adds.

Related: Astronaut Says Global Warming and Climate Change is Biggest Fraud

Environmental activists met in the oil producing, socialist country of Venezuela as part of a United Nations-backed event to increase civil engagement in the lead up to a major climate conference.

But environmentalists surprised U.N. officials by offering up a declaration that not only seeks to end capitalism, but one that also opposes U.N.-backed efforts to fight global warming — namely, cap-and-trade and forest conservation programs.

What is the Environmental Protection agency?

climate change polar bear iceClimate-change news analysis site RTCC reports that it’s unclear which groups signed onto the declaration, adding that it runs in the face of the “green economy” solutions to global warming backed by rich nations.

But many poor countries, like Venezuela, do not support a “green economy” solution to global warming, instead, arguing that rich countries should give poor nations cash payments and technology transfers.

Rejection of cap-and-trade and forest conservation programs also fly in the face of U.S. and European environmental groups, which back programs to limit and price carbon dioxide emissions.

In the U.S., environmentalists rallied behind the Environmental Protection Agency proposals to cut carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants — a plan that would force the shutdown of coal-fired power plants.

“Climate disruption is the greatest challenge facing our generation,” Michael Brune, the director of the Sierra Club, said in a statement in June. “Until now, power plants have been allowed to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our air, driving dangerous climate disruption, and fueling severe drought, wildfires, heat waves and superstorms.”

The EPA’s plan to cut emissions from power plants has been attacked by the coal industry and Republicans who say it will harm the U.S. economy without doing much to help the climate.

Related:  EPA Makes Wood Burning Stoves Illegal

“EPA is setting up our states to fail – our local economies to fail – to deliver on the president’s promise that electricity prices will skyrocket – all for immeasurable so-called climate benefits,” Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter said in a Thursday hearing on the EPA’s new rule. ”This rule is all pain and no gain.”

Related: Soros Funding EPA Regulations

The environmentalists who support the Margarita Declaration may have also been pleased to hear that Australia repealed its two-year-old carbon tax — though Australia is still a free-market economy.

Australia’s conservative coalition government has been bucking the so-called climate consensus since their electoral wins last fall. Not only did Australia send no high level diplomats to the last U.N. climate conference, but they also plan to cut global warming and green energy programs by 90 percent over the next four years.

Liberal Media Fail to Report Soros Funding Linked to New EPA Regulations

Liberal Media Fail to Report Soros Funding Linked to New EPA Regulations

By Sean Long, newsbusters.org

George Soros
George Soros

The liberal media love to hate the Koch Brothers but are far less enthusiastic about connecting George Soros’ billions to liberal policies.

Related: Who are the Koch Brothers?

On July 6, Coral Davenport of The New York Times revealed that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new regulations on power plant emissions were largely inspired by the work of environmental activists at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The broadcast networks have not mentioned the NRDC connection to the new regulations, and even the Times ignored that  liberal mega-donor Soros has bankrolled the NRDC.

The Times called the EPA regulations “a remarkable victory for the National Resources Defense Council” for developing the “novel” framework that the EPA would adopt, but they also failed to mention the more than $1.7 million in Soros-funding the group received since 2004 ($1,771,893).

On June 1, the EPA unveiled drastic limits on carbon emissions, mandating steep emission cuts within 16 years. While emission limits weren’t a new idea, the EPA plan “sets different limits for each state and allows states the flexibility to meet the standards by picking from a menu of policy options,” according to Davenport.

Davenport traced this innovation back to a specific 110-page proposal, written by two lawyers, David Doniger and David Hawkins, and energy policy expert, Daniel Lashof. All three individuals work with the NRDC, though Lashof only advises the organization since he joined left-wing billionaire donor Tom Steyer’s Next Gen Climate America in March. In February, Steyer pledged $100 million to pressure politicians on climate issues.

Few media outlets covered the Times’ revelations about NRDC’s involvement. None of the broadcast news programs brought it up. In fact, ABC, CBS and NBC news programs have ignored the EPA regulations since June 2.

Print media was not much better. While the Daily Mail (UK) reported on Davenport’s findings, few other news outlets joined in. The Hill and the National Journal both published brief pieces on EPA official’s response denying that the NRDC had any remarkable influence. None of that coverage brought up Soros’ donations to the NRDC.

Of course, both the networks and print media have been incredibly biased while pushing the EPA’s regulations. While discussing the plan, which CBS called “groundbreaking,” on June 2, 85 percent of the coverage completely ignored the economic impact. Additionally, an examination of major U.S. newspapers found that 90 percent of their editorial pages supported or ignored the EPA’s scheme.

Dramatic NASA satellite images show our air getting cleaner

Dramatic NASA satellite images show our air getting cleaner

NASA clean air satellite photos
Satellite data show that New York City has seen a 32 percent decrease in nitrogen dioxide (shown in red on the map) between the periods of 2005-2007 (left) and 2009-2011 (right). 

If Americans are breathing easier than they were a decade ago, these new NASA satellite images may help explain why. They show — in vividly color-coded maps — that levels of nitrogen dioxide, an important air pollutant, have plummeted across the country over the last decade.

The data comes from a NASA satellite called Aura, which launched in 2004 with the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) to measure pollutants in columns of air. Goddard data visualizers then plotted the concentrations of various pollutants in each column over a map of the U.S., and in more detail over a number of cities, comparing data collected from 2005 to 2011.

Concentrations of nitrogen dioxide coded as yellow to red are considered unhealthy, explained Bryan Duncan, an atmospheric scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

 

airpollutiondecreasenortheastus2005to2011.jpg
Nitrogen dioxide in the Northeastern U.S., 2005 (top) and 2011 (bottom).
 NASA GODDARD’S SCIENTIFIC VISUALIZATION STUDIO

 

Duncan told CBS News: “The Aura satellite happened to be collecting data at the right time to witness this huge reduction in air pollution in the U.S. — about 40 percent on average for nitrogen dioxide.”

Most nitrogen dioxide is generated by cars burning gasoline and power plants burning coal. Over the past decade, technologies for improving gas mileage and scrubbing nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants out of power plant exhaust towers have been implemented across the country.

 

denver-houston-la-sd.jpg
These images show how nitrogen dioxide has decreased from 2005-2007 (left) to 2009-2011 (right). Denver, down 22%; Houston, down 24%; LA, San Diego, down 40%; San Francisco Bay area, no percentage given.
 NASA GODDARD’S SCIENTIFIC VISUALIZATION STUDIO

 

Nitrogen dioxide can impact the respiratory system, and it also contributes to the formation of other pollutants including ground-level ozone and particulates.

“Ozone is nasty stuff,” says Duncan. “It is highly reactive. When you breathe it in, the ozone reacts with the lung tissue and burns it.” According to the EPA, ground-level ozone levels have also decreased over the same period.

America’s air quality still has room for improvement. According to the American Lung Association’s 2014 State of the Air report, “147.6 million people — 47 percent of the nation — live where pollution levels are too often dangerous to breathe, an increase from last year’s report.”

Duncan notes that lower levels of nitrogen dioxide and other air pollutants are detected over the weekends when fewer cars are on the road. And the EPA has reported a slight rise in ozone since 2011. Still, NASA notes on its Web site that overall “[a]ir pollution has decreased even though population and the number of cars on the roads have increased.”

Duncan thinks this is a rare opportunity to share good news. “Americans think our air quality is getting worse, but quite the opposite is true.”

What is the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)?

What is the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)?

The Environmental Protection Agency is a US Federal government agency established in 1970 to simply protect the environment.  It was designed to protect our air, water, and earth from contaminants that companies and people were putting into these areas.

A very noble cause.  We all want to breath and drink clean water and air.

cows grazing coal plantFor the most part they have done a great job of this.  However, like most government agencies, they have become a tool to carry out various government agendas.  Just like how the IRS became the “muscle” for the Democrats and Obama to oppress the Tea Party (the IRS Targeting Scandal), so too has the EPA become the “muscle” for the Democrats and liberals for various agendas.

The EPA is used to create and enforce regulations that would otherwise not be allowed by the American people.  Congress nor the people would allow certain activities to happen.  So, loosely written laws are enacted that gives the EPA broad powers making things “legal”.

jobs unemployment workBecause of their strict guidelines and huge fines, many companies have to go out of business because they cannot afford to implement the EPA’s necessary corrective actions.  The EPA will say that “the company decided” to go out of business rather than implement their corrective items.  This has a HUGE effect on jobs, the economy, gas prices, and other price increases that directly affect your wallet.  See EPA’s Impact On Job Losses.

Gun Control:
The EPA is being used to push gun control. What? Yes!  This year the EPA forced a plant in Missouri to shut down that produced the lead in bullets.  It was the last remaining plant in the US.  Now all lead comes from Russia, China, and other countries who don’t like us.  These countries can stop shipping to us at anytime or the US can limit or stop the import of these items at anytime. (see story)

Also the EPA is being used to shut down shooting ranges, both indoor and outdoor ranges.  They created environmental regulations regarding lead poisoning that forces these ranges to close because the can’t afford to meet the regulations.

Lead poisoning is very serious and does need requirements and monitoring but not to the level the EPA requires.  Just like the plant in Missouri that had very safe processes in place, so can ranges.

The EPA (and the Democrats) are strangling the gun market by not attacking with a frontal assault but by circling around behind the “enemy” lines and cutting off the supply which will eventually drive up prices making unaffordable for most people.

Oil and Gas:
This is one of the EPA’s primary targets.  They hate the O&G market.  This includes other “fossil fuels” like coal.  They have a mission to shut down every coal plant in the US that makes electricity.

gas pricesObama has an agenda, as seen in this video, to kill all coal plants. The EPA has to approve EVERY new oil drilling site which can take years and in some cases over 5 years!  Over 85% of our energy (gas for cars, electricity for homes) comes from fossil fuels most of which we have to buy from other countries.  But the US is sitting on the most coal and oil than any other place on earth!

Related: Unions Slam Obama Carbon Emissions Rule!

Wood burning stoveIn other EPA news, they are attempting to stop people from burning wood fireplaces even though the emissions from these sources is very minimal and often the only source of heat for some families. (see story).

They also attempt to go after and shut down businesses that do not meet their agenda.  Like the recent “lost” emails at the IRS, the EPA also “lost” emails related to a Congressional investigation over a mine in Alaska. (see story)

There is an agenda and its not affecting your air or water, its effective your wallets and your jobs.

Now the EPA is “missing” emails related to an investigation

Now the EPA is “missing” emails related to an investigation

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

The Internal Revenue Service isn’t the only government agency dealing with missing emails or faulty hard drives.

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy on Wednesday cited a similar cyber snafu during a House Oversight Committee hearing.

“Another missing hard drive?” Rep. Mark Meadows, R-NC, asked McCarthy.

She responded, “We are having trouble acquiring the data.”

Wednesday’s hearing was called in response to allegations of rampant employee misconduct as well as a pattern of obstruction of oversight efforts by the committee.

See: The Dog Ate My Tax Return Legislation 

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., threatened to hold the EPA in contempt of Congress over subpoenaed documents he claimed her agency was purposely withholding.

Deleted Email“You have not complied with the subpoena,” Issa charged. “I’m informing you today that it is my intention to hold the Environmental Protection Agency in contempt.”

The EPA is being accused of slow-walking several requests by the House committee to provide lawmakers with documents involving alleged employee misconduct on a number of thorny issues, including conflicts among the EPA, the Office of Inspector General and agency management as well as the EPA’s action related to the veto of the controversial Pebble Mine project in Alaska.

Related:  See the EPA cover-up on why this is being investigated

Lawmakers at the hearing wanted McCarthy to address lost emails from a hard-drive crash at the agency that wiped out some emails from former employee Philip North to his bosses at the EPA over the controversial Alaska mine project.

Complicating matters, North has gone off the proverbial grid, making it difficult for lawmakers to issue a subpoena for him to testify.

Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich., asked McCarthy if she knew where North was.

“No sir, I don’t know that,” she responded.

Bentivolio pressed McCarthy about claims North’s hard drive crashed, making some of his emails unavailable.

McCarthy said the EPA has submitted all the documents it has been able to find and will “continue the search.”

“There are some gaps, but we have submitted significant amounts,” McCarthy said.

Emails from North, now retired, recently surfaced that seemed to show the Alaska-based biologist tried to get the Pebble Mine project killed as far back as 2008.

Those emails — and memos indicating government officials worked early on with tribal leaders and environmental groups to oppose the venture — raised questions about the agency’s claims that when it ultimately vetoed the gold-and-copper mine project, it did so based on scientific evidence.

Emails from North’s account show that he “appeared to have played a key role in the EPA’s decision to pursue a veto,” Caitlin Carroll, a spokeswoman for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told FoxNews.com.

When he was still reachable, North was asked multiple times to come in and talk to lawmakers about the project. He offered up a list of complications that prevented him from meeting with the government, including a pre-planned, one-year boat ride around the world with his school-aged children.

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows asked McCarthy whether North had backed up his emails and suggested there might be a violation of federal record-keeping rules.

McCarthy said she notified the National Archives of the matter Tuesday, adding, “I am still hoping we recover all the emails.”

The Internal Revenue Service has been at the center of a controversy over allegations that it unfairly targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. On Tuesday, the nation’s top archivist told Congress that the agency did not follow the law when it failed to report the loss of records belonging to former IRS official Lois Lerner.

In June 2011, Lerner’s computer crashed, taking with it records that were sought in the investigation. The IRS said it tried to recover the lost data but ultimately could not.

Separately, the EPA is under pressure to discuss and provide documentation on John Beale – the former EPA official who fooled his bosses into believing he worked for the CIA. Beale was accused of being deeply involved in crafting costly environmental standards that still are having an impact today — though he came into the job with little, if any, environmental experience.

Issa issued a subpoena in November for documents over a five-year period as part of an inquiry into whether the White House meddled with how the agency responded to congressional requests.

Issa said his requests had been ignored and told McCarthy he will start the process of holding the agency in contempt if the documents are not provided. The White House has the option to declare executive privilege though they have yet to do so.

McCarthy told the committee that her staff was still working to provide the information it requested but did add there was an ongoing criminal investigation against Beale.

She also said that her staff shared documents with the committee in private that show the White House did not interfere with the agency.

“You know we’ve worked hard to recognize the interests of this committee in ensuring that there is no White House interference in the work between us and delivering documents that you required,” she said.

“We have provided an accommodation which we have actually shared with your staff this morning, and we’re working to make sure that that matches your needs so that we can avoid the institutional problems with the requests that you made, and hopefully move on to continue our work together,” McCarthy added.

Shaky stats fuel debate over power plants, carbon emissions

Shaky stats fuel debate over power plants, carbon emissions

cows grazing coal plant
Cows graze in the shadow of the coal fired Chalk Point Generating Station, on May 29, 2014 in Benedict, Maryland.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s new pollution limits for power plants have set off an avalanche of information about what the rules will cost, how they will affect your health and how far they will go toward curbing climate change.

There’s just one problem: Almost none of it is based in reality.

That’s because Obama’s proposed rules, which aim to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 30 percent by 2030, rely on states developing their own customized plans to meet their targets. Among the options are switching to cleaner fuel sources, boosting efficiency to reduce demand for electricity and trading pollution permits through cap-and-trade.

At the earliest, states won’t submit plans until mid-2016; some states could have until 2018. So the true impact won’t be known for years.

But that’s not stopping the White House, environmental groups and the energy industry from serving up speculation in heaping doses.

What we know and don’t know about the effects of the pollution rules:

ELECTRICITY PRICES

The Obama administration says: The proposal will shrink electricity bills about 8 percent.

Supporters of energy deregulation say: “Americans can expect to pay $200 more each year for their electricity.” — Institute for Energy Research, a group backed by the Koch brothers.

The reality: It depends how you crunch the numbers. The administration acknowledges that the price per kilowatt hour will go up a few percentage points. But the administration says your total power bill will be lower because the plan incentivizes efficiency and will drive down demand. In other words, you’ll pay more for the electricity you buy, but you’ll buy less of it.

THE ENVIRONMENT

Environmentalists say: “This is the biggest step we’ve ever taken for the biggest challenge we’ve ever faced.” — League of Conservation Voters

The coal industry says: “The proposal will have practically no effect on global climate change.” — American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity

The reality: The plan would prevent about 430 million tons of carbon from reaching the atmosphere. It’s a 30 percent cut over the next 15 years, but that’s compared with 2005 levels. Since 2005, power plans have cut those emissions nearly 13 percent, so they’re already about halfway toward the goal.

But U.S. fossil-fueled plants account for only 6 percent of global carbon emissions, and Obama’s plan doesn’t touch the rest of the world’s emissions. It won’t cut as big a chunk as Obama’s previous fuel economy rules for cars and trucks.

THE ECONOMY

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says: The plan will cost the economy more than $50 billion per year.

The administration says: By 2030, the rules will have an annual cost of up to $8.8 billion, but that cost will be far offset by annual climate and health benefits of up to $93 billion.

The reality: We won’t know until states decide how to meet their targets. Some states rely more heavily on coal, so different regions will be affected in different ways. Still, it’s a safe bet that companies that produce natural gas, solar panels or renewable technologies will get a boost, while coal will take a hit.

To calculate health care savings, the administration uses a somewhat morbid formula that puts a dollar amount on ailments averted — everything from heart attacks to bronchitis and asthma. It’s an inexact science, and there are plenty of caveats.

JOBS

jobs unemployment workThe conservative Heritage Foundation says: “Nearly 600,000 jobs would be lost.”

The United Mine Workers of America says: “We estimate that the total impact will be about 485,000 permanent jobs lost.”

The Environmental Protection Agency says: The rules could cost close to 80,000 jobs by 2030 at power plants and fossil fuel companies, but could create about 111,000 jobs in energy efficiency.

The reality: It’s tough to tell. Not every coal miner who loses a job will find work installing solar panels and windmills. On the other hand, the low cost of natural gas has already prompted a shift away from coal, meaning some of those jobs will disappear with or without new pollution limits.

PUBLIC HEALTH

prostate cancer health doctorThe EPA says: Up to 6,600 premature deaths, 150,000 asthma attacks in children and close to half a million sick days will be averted.

The American Lung Association says: “Cleaning up carbon pollution from power plants will save lives and have an immediate, positive impact on public health.”

The coal industry says: “The White House continues to perpetuate the nonexistent linkage between EPA’s new carbon regulations and public health.” — American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity

The reality: Even the EPA says that the quantitative health benefits of the new rule are “illustrative examples.” It’s true that carbon dioxide emissions aren’t directly linked to health problems like asthma. But because the rule will decrease the amount of electricity made from burning coal, it will help reduce other pollutants that coal-fired power plants release. Those pollutants create smog and soot, which do cause health problems.

Critics contend the administration is “double counting” those benefits.