Hi folks, Aaron Huertas here in the UCS media department. I’ve been helping ScottN get out the word on this EPA blog effort. I wanted to let everyone know your comments are being noticed by the EPA and beyond. Take a look at this great piece by Marianne Lavelle, the Energy Editor over at US News and World Report.
While over 700 comments have “flowed” into Deputy Director Peacock’s blog, he has, to date, made only one very cursory follow-up that I could find:
Just a reminder to folks: this blog is not an EPA-wide blog (as opposed to what the Department of State does, for instance). It's a blog by the Chief Operating Officer so it tends to deal with the work I do. That work doesn't always align with the EPA business some people are most interested in.
Posted by: Marcus | February 08, 2008 at 10:12 AM
Of course, the responsibility over the EPA waiver decision rests with Administrator Johnson, but that has not stopped Peacock’s blog from commenting on this issue not once, but twice as far as I could find.
Beyond that, the Quarterly Management Report (.pdf) from Peacock’s office documents two areas where the waiver most definitely applies. First, the report measures EPA's performance related to Congressional interaction. The report says, “Constructive interactions with Congress ensure appropriate tools and resources are available for protecting human health and the environment.” Yet EPA staff was certainly not permitted to be constructive in meeting Senator Barbara Boxer's request for information about the waiver denial according to this op-ed the senator wrote.
Additionally, Peacock’s office measures EPA effectiveness at workforce recruitment. The report says, “Recruiting a talented staff is critical for maintaining the credibility and performance of the Agency.” But when the EPA ignores its own lawyers and scientists and suppresses their findings when it reports to Congress, some might argue that this will have a chilling impact on recruitment of talented staff who want their work to be respected and appreciated.
And this isn’t the first time EPA staff have interfered with work from their scientists. UCS’s Scientific Integrity program has documented at least 20 such cases at the agency.
I hope that Mr. Peacock does decide to make a more direct response to all of your comments on his blog. Or, in the same way that ScottN is allowing me to “guest blog” here, perhaps Administrator Johnson will take a turn at the keyboard himself. Either way, it’s great to see this public dialogue continue online and in the press.
Posted by: Aaron Huertas