The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hid the results of experimental data that contradicted the Obama administration’s regulatory agenda, according to the publisher of an anti-junk science blog.
JunkScience.com publisher Steve Milloy claims to have uncovered data buried by the EPA “that directly contradicts the Obama EPA’s 2015 decision to tighten the air quality standard for ozone from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb.”
“In a court of law, ozone would be given a mistrial,” Milloy wrote in a blog post Tuesday. “The Trump EPA should revoke the Obama ozone rule and start over.”
Milloy, a longtime EPA critic, obtained the results of an EPA-funded study published in March 2014. He obtained documents through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Starting in 2011, EPA researchers exposed 16 adults to ground-level ozone, or smog, pollution, which the agency says can cause health problems even at low levels.
EPA’s website says “[r]ecent studies consistently report associations between short-term ozone exposures and total non-accidental mortality, which includes deaths from respiratory causes.” EPA even claimed its 2015 ozone standard would prevent up to 660 deaths a year.
However, the results of the EPA’s “TROPICOZ” study produced data that didn’t support the agency’s stance on ozone pollution.
The study had 16 people, aged 18 to 55, “exercise (ride a bike) in hot conditions (89-93F) while inhaling air containing an exceedingly high 300 ppb ozone for two hours — an ozone level four times the then-current standard and one that does not occur anywhere in the United States,” Milloy wrote.
“The study subjects also exercised under the same conditions but in ‘clean’ air,” Milloy wrote. “No adverse effects from ozone were observed among the 16 subjects in the experiment. No clinical differences were reported between the two exposures.”
“The results were never made public,” Milloy wrote. “They were never provided to ClinicalTrials.gov even though the website was updated well after the study results were available (March 2014) and the ozone rule was issued (October 2015).”
EPA did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
The Obama administration tightened ozone standards in 2015, which industries have called one of the most expensive clean air regulations ever imposed on the economy. The Obama EPA lowered the acceptable ozone threshold from 75 to 70 parts per billion.
Republicans largely opposed EPA’s lowering of ozone standards in 2015 since many counties, in California and the Northeast, were still out of compliance with the 2008 standard. Lawmakers have introduced legislation in both chambers of Congress to give states more flexibility in meeting ozone regulations set by the Clean Air Act.
At the time, EPA said the rule would only cost about $2 billion, including California’s compliance costs, but yield public health benefits ranging from $3.1 billion to $8 billion.
The Trump administration, however, opposed the tightened ozone rule. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sought to delay the rule earlier this year, but reversed course in August.
Hundreds of industry groups asked Pruitt to repeal the Obama-era regulation in early September. A coalition of states sued EPA in 2015 to have the rule struck down.
A group of 15 states and some environmental groups sued EPA in August over delaying the ozone rule.
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