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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Given the Senate's inaction on the continuing budget resolution (so far), the White House "said it has begun to work with agencies to prepare for the possibility of a large swath of the federal workforce being furloughed without pay beginning at midnight." Even if a shutdown occurs, however, "Senate procedures will allow the chamber to approve the CR with only a handful of Democrats in support by Sunday morning. Of the roughly 900,000 federal employees who were subject to furloughs in agencies’ most recent calculations, most would not be materially impacted as they do not work on weekends."
President Obama has called for a "full review" of the hacking that took place during the 2016 election cycle, according to Obama counterterrorism and homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco. Intelligence officials say it is highly likely that Russia was behind the hacking. The results are not necessarily going to be made public, but will be shared with members of Congress.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are threatening to block the spending bill—and prevent the Senate from leaving town—"because it would not extend benefits for retired coal miners for a year or pay for their pension plans. The current version of the bill would extend health benefits for four months. ... Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday afternoon moved to end debate on the continuing resolution to fund the government through April 28. But unless Senate Democrats relent, that vote cannot be held until Saturday at 1 a.m. at the earliest, one hour after the current funding measure expires."
The South Korean parliament voted on Friday morning to impeach President Park Geun-hye over charges of corruption, claiming she allowed undue influence to a close confidante of hers. Ms. Park is now suspended as president for 180 days. South Korea's Constitutional Court will hear the case and decide whether to uphold or overturn the impeachment.