News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Jason Samenow was a lead EPA author on CO2 Endangerment Finding as well as denials of its reconsideration while also employed by the Washington Post which "absorbed" Samenow's blog in 2008. $1 billion a day is "invested" in notion of CO2 endangerment as of 2012

J. Samenow
For the last two of Samenow's years with the EPA, 2008-2010, his "weather" blog was hosted by the Washington Post:

"Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. From 2000 to September 2010, he worked as a climate change analyst for the federal government, monitoring, analyzing and communicating the science of climate change. He founded CapitalWeather.com in early 2004, the first professional weather blog on the Internet which was absorbed by the Post in 2008."...


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$1 billion a day is invested in the notion of global warming as of 2012. 

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EPA's Jason Samenow was a lead author of the agency's CO2 Endangerment Finding as well as denials of petitions to reconsider it. The post below from Climate Audit is mainly concerned with the involvement of Gavin Schmidt. Jason Samenow is connected with some of Schmidt's activities. Subhead, "Schmidt correspondence:"
  
10/18/14, "Gavin Schmidt and the EPA Denial Decision," Climate Audit, Steve McIntyre

"About eight weeks ago, Jean S postulated that Gavin Schmidt had been involved in writing the documents supporting EPA’s decision denying various petitions for reconsideration of the Endangerment Finding (the RTP documents“), documents that Mann had cited to the D.C. Court as a supposedly  “independent” investigation into allegations against him. 

Obviously, if Schmidt had been involved in the evaluation of evidence for EPA, any claim to “independence” of the EPA’s supposed investigation would be risible.

Jean S directly asked Schmidt, but Schmidt ignored the question.

However, Jean S’ post led to the discovery of new and convincing evidence on Schmidt’s involvement in the RTP documents, which I’ll report today for the first time. Searching for an answer also revealed that EPA appears to have violated federal peer review policies in respect to the peer review of the RTP documents supporting the denial decision.

Background to FOI Request

In his CA post, Jean S noted that language in the RTP documents (noting Responses 1-2, 1-9, 1-16 and 1-70) showed a familiarity with some very fine details of Real Climate positions on past controversy that even Jean S had not been previously aware of. From this, Jean S speculated that Schmidt (and perhaps even Mann) had been involved with the RTP documents. Jean S directly asked both Mann and Schmidt as follows:
@ClimateOfGavin @MichaelEMann Were you involved in writing of EPA’s Denial of Petitions? http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/petitions.html
The comment thread to Jean S’ post is worth re-reading.  Among other things, AMac reminded readers of EPA’s reliance on Mann’s contaminated nodendro reconstruction (an issue that I had noticed in my only near-contemporary comment on the EPA documents.)

FOI Request

Subsequently, one of the parties in Mann v Steyn (CEI) made an FOI inquiry to EPA asking for 

(1) correspondence between EPA and Gavin Schmidt between February 2010 and August 2010; and (2) a list of authors and a list of reviewers of the RTP documents

Schmidt Correspondence

EPA produced emails between Schmidt and Jason Samenow of EPA (copied to Marcus Sarofim and Rona Birnbaum of EPA.) Samenow and Sarofim had been lead authors of the Endangerment Finding, of which Schmidt had been a reviewer. Other FOI information (see discussion here) provides evidence that Samenow,  Sarofim and Birnbaum were also lead authors of the RTP documents

On May 21, 2010, Samenow and Schmidt exchanged emails in which the EPA officials scheduled a meeting with Schmidt at Schmidt’s office in New York on June 10. Samenow and Sarofim planned to take a train to New York and meet with Schmidt and Reto Ruedy for a half-day, finishing in early-to-mid afternoon. Sarofim and Birnbaum were copied on the correspondence.

On June 8, Samenow sent a “document” via overnight courier to Schmidt in preparation for their half-day meeting on June 10. Emails were exchanged on the day prior to the meeting arranging details.

Under the circumstances, there can be little doubt that Schmidt had been sent draft versions of documents connected to the denial decision and that Schmidt’s meeting with Samenow and Sarofim was for the purpose of reviewing these documents. Jean S’ question can therefore be answered in the affirmative: Schmidt had been involved.

No Peer Review Documents

EPA’s answer to the other question was equally interesting. They stated that they had no documents listing either authors or reviewers of the RTP documents. This is hard to understand given U.S. federal policies requiring peer review and peer review records for influential scientific information disseminated by the U.S. federal government.

Both federal and EPA policies require EPA to carry out peer review of “influential scientific information” in accordance with the EPA Peer Review Handbook,  as clearly stated in the following EPA policy memo linked on their webpage concerning peer review:

"Influential scientific information, including highly influential scientific assessments, should be peer reviewed in accordance with the Agency’s Peer Review Handbook. All Agency managers are accountable for ensuring that Agency policy and guidance are appropriately applied in determining if their work products are influential or highly influential, and for deciding the nature, scope, and timing of their peer review. For highly influential scientific assessments, external peer review is the expected procedure. For influential scientific information intended to support important decisions, or for work products that have special importance in their own right, external peer review is the approach of choice."

The EPA definesinfluential” scientific information as follows:

.3. EPA will generally consider the following classes of information to be influential, and, to the extent that they contain scientific, financial, or statistical information, that information should adhere to a rigorous standard of quality:
Information disseminated in support of top Agency actions (i.e., rules, substantive notices, policy documents, studies, guidance) that demand the ongoing involvement of the Administrator’s Office and extensive cross-Agency involvement; issues that have the potential to result in major cross-Agency or cross-media policies, are highly controversial, or provide a significant opportunity to advance the Administrator’s priorities. Top Agency actions usually have potentially great or widespread impacts on the private sector, the public or state, local or tribal governments. This category may also include precedent-setting or controversial scientific or economic issues.
Similar language is set out in the EPA’s Peer Review Handbook in its  section entitled “2.2.3 How Does One Determine Whether a Scientific and/or Technical Work Product is Influential Scientific Information?”.

The decision to deny the petitions for reconsideration was clearly a “top Agency action” that provided “a significant opportunity to advance the Administrator’s priorities”, was “highly controversial”,  had “potentially great or widespread impacts on the private sector, the public or state, local or tribal governments” and/or included “precedent-setting or controversial scientific or economic issues”. Indeed, it’s hard to contemplate how one would even begin to argue otherwise.

The EPA’s Peer Review Handbook requires the agency to maintain a “peer review record”, which, at an inconceivable minimum, would contain the names of authors and reviewers of the document. So how is it that the EPA had no responsive documents? Odd."....via Climate Depot

Image of Jason Samenow from Washington Post

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Among comments at Climate Audit:

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"EPA’s Jason Samenow...is...admired by Michel Mann on Facebook.

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/2008/01/meet_the_gang.html"

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July 2010, "Denial of Petitions for Reconsideration of the Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act," epa.gov

"EPA determined in December 2009 that climate change caused by emissions of greenhouse gases threatens the public's health and the environment. Since then, EPA received ten petitions challenging this determination. On July 29, 2010, EPA denied these petitions....

Petitions



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