EPA Chief Returns Fire in War Over Science

Kevin Cederstrom/AP

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy fired back in the war over her agency's science, slamming critics who "manufacture uncertainties that stop us from taking urgently needed climate action."

The agency's scientific studies have become an increasingly convenient target for industry groups and congressional Republicans bent on stopping EPA regulations. Republicans have subpoenaed several health studies that EPA relies on for its air-pollution rules, and increasing attention has been heaped on the agency's scientific review panels.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, McCarthy went after the "small but vocal group of critics" who she said were more interested in "looking to cloud the science with uncertainty … to keep EPA from doing the very job that Congress gave us to do."

McCarthy also touched on the agency's controversial use of human testing to measure the impact of air pollution, the subject of a recent inspector general report that largely said the agency followed proper procedure. Critics have said that the human tests put the subjects at risk.

In her speech, McCarthy countered that the human tests helped scientists to "better understand biological responses to different levels of air pollutants."

"Science is real and verifiable," she said. "With the health of our families and our futures at stake, the American people expect us to act on the facts, not spend precious time and taxpayer money refuting manufactured uncertainties."

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