Climate change denier among those appointed to EPA science board

The Environmental Protection Agency appointed several new members to its Science Advisory Board who have denied key findings of the harmful effects of man-made pollutants on the environment and human health.

The appointments by acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler come following the former coal lobbyist and Republican Senate aide’s confirmation hearing last month for him to assume the role permanently. Wheeler said at the hearing that he “would not call (climate change) the greatest crisis,” adding that he considers it “a huge issue that has to be addressed globally.”

One of the newly appointed board members is Dr. John Christy, a professor at University of Alabama in Huntsville who’s a known climate change denier.

“I see neither the developing catastrophe nor the smoking gun proving that human activity is to blame for most of the warming we see,” Christy wrote in a 2007 Wall Street Journal op-ed when he was on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a co-recipient of that year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

In the op-ed, Christy accused colleagues projecting century-long weather patterns of having “overstated-confidence” and warned of “jump-to-conclusions advocates and, unfortunately, some scientists who see in every weather anomaly the specter of a global-warming apocalypse.”

Three new appointees have worked on projects dismissing the harmful effects of low doses of well-known toxins.

  • New appointee Dr. Brant Ulsh, who works for the consulting firm M.H. Chew and Associates, criticized how “right now we spend an enormous effort trying to minimize low doses” at nuclear power plants, he told The Associated Press in October. Both the National Academy of Sciences and the EPA have found that even low-level radiation can increase cancer risk.
  • Dr. Barbara Beck, another pick for the board, wrote in 2006 that researchers should be cautious in determining that low-level lead exposure harmed children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have long asserted that “no safe blood lead level in children has been identified.” Beck is a consultant at Gradient, an environmental consulting firm that has faced accusations of backing research with results favorable to its interests.
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