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EPA's McCarthy Slams the Agency's Anti-Science Critics

Posted by: Noah Grunzweig @ May 2, 2014, 2:22 p.m.

Social science studies warn: loud, angry (anti-science) voices gain traction in public sentiment.  Scientific reasoning must be defended loudly and passionately as well.

This report was broadcast calmly on Public Radio.

At this year’s National Academy of Sciences' (NAS) annual meeting on Monday, April 28, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy had some poignant words for anti-science Senators, climate deniers, and for the public who have been encouraged by some to question the validity of the EPA’s research reporting.

“With science as our North Star, EPA has steered America away from health risks and toward healthier communities and a higher overall quality of life,” McCarthy said. “That’s why it’s worrisome that our science seems to be under constant assault by a small — but vocal — group of critics.”

“…Critics conjure up claims of 'EPA secret science,' but it's not really about EPA science or secrets. It's about challenging the credibility of world renowned scientists and institutions...[and] about claiming that research is secret if researchers protect confidential personal health data from those who are not qualified to analyze it, and who won't agree to protect it.”

McCarthy was confirmed last July after a four month nomination battle with Republicans in the U.S. Senate (complete with boycott).  Law makers were likely concerned about McCarthy doing what most scientists have opted out of doing for decades-- defending the scientific process.

Here are some of McCarthy’s comments, as reported by Greenwire:

“I bet when those same critics get sick, they run to doctors and hospitals that rely on science from — guess who — Harvard University and the American Cancer Society. I bet they check air quality forecasts from EPA and the National Weather Service to see if the air is healthy enough for their asthmatic child to play outside that day. I bet they buy dishwashers with Energy Star labels, and take FDA-approved medicine, and eat USDA-approved meats.”

Everything about modern life is infused with the advancements made by scientists who never imagined their research would be of such great use or abuse.  Many problems we face today are a direct result of ignoring developments in our scientific understanding of the world around us.  For example: Penicillin would still be a tremendously effective antibiotic, and there wouldn’t be the growing threat of “superbugs” if lawmakers, doctors, and the livestock industry had paid attention way back in 1945 (or any singular legislative moment to this very day…), when Alexander Fleming first warned against the overuse (or improper use) of antibiotics.

It is time to stand up for the work of our brightest minds.  It is time to defend reasonable governance.  Contact your policymakers and thank them making decisions based on scientific reasoning (which is what you voted them into office to do) or encourage them to start rather than making decisions based on opinions and personal/corporate gain. Long term economic and social health depends on it.

Think Progress published an article of elected officials with a climate denial record.  That is a great place to start.

Sources:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/06/26/2202141/anti-science-climate-denier-caucus-113th-congress-edition/
http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059998577
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Fleming

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