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How Not To Defend Scientific Integrity

Brennan Center Co-Chair Christie Whitman Makes A Mockery Of Scientific Integrity

Christie Whitman testifies before the House Judiciary Committee to defend her post 9/11 EPA actions and remarks.

Christie Whitman testifies before the House Judiciary Committee to defend her post 9/11 EPA actions and remarks.

I was just reading an important Op-Ed from the Brennan Center – a very fine organization whose work I highly respect – on the Trump administration’s most recent and most egregious attack on science, see:

The Trump administration is proposing a rule that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from relying on research when crafting regulations unless the underlying data is publicly available. This is a problem because the data in studies showing how pollution harms people’s health often includes individuals’ confidential personal information — including medical records that are protected by privacy law. Without access to such data, the EPA would not be able to use the best available science when writing rules to ensure clean air and water.

So far, so good.

But then, in reading the second paragraph, my head exploded upon reading of the highlighted involvement of Christie Whitman:

The proposal is the Trump administration’s latest assault on science-based policymaking, especially when it comes to the environment. Fortunately, a bill gaining bipartisan momentum in Congress would protect objective government research: the Scientific Integrity Act. The measure was just endorsed by the Brennan Center’s bipartisan National Task Force on Rule of Law & Democracy, a group of policy experts and former government officials led by former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman and former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Whitman is not a “policy expert” and certainly has no business leading a group of former government officials on issues regarding scientific integrity.

Whitman’s record as NJ Governor and EPA Administrator on scientific and public health issues makes a mockery of the stated objectives of the Scientific Integrity Act and contradicts the values and principles and mission of the Brennan Center, who authored the Op-Ed.

I fired off the email below to the Brennan Center, and several other people and organizations with knowledge of Whitman’s record. Unfortunately, I don’t have the email of former US EPA Ombudsman Hugh Kaufman, who Whitman directly retaliated against.

Greetings – I recently read of the work of the Brennan Center in reference to an Op-Ed on the proposed “Scientific Integrity Act”, which highlighted the role of Co-Chair Christine Whitman.

As someone with direct personal first hand detailed knowledge of her record on scientific integrity issues, I was appalled.

The role of Ms. Whitman as Co-Chair effects the credibility of your organization – Are you aware of the record of Ms. Whitman as NJ Governor and US EPA Administrator?

That record contradicts and undermines your asserted core values and principles and should effectively disqualify her from credible public service with your organization.

I’ll mention just a few – all of which have been amply documented in the public record, including by an award winning journalistic series “Open For Business” by the Bergen Record regarding Whitman’s policies as NJ Gov.

1. As NJ Governor, Whitman participated in misleading the public about and suppression of science regarding health risks of mercury in freshwater fish. I have direct knowledge of this, including sworn testimony by Assistant Commissioner Richard Sinding, – who wrote the fraudulent memo at the direction of Commission Shinn – in an administrative hearing to support these claims. As a NJ DEP official, I blew the whistle on that and was retaliated against and forced out of the Agency by Whitman’s Attorney General’s Office and DEP Commissioner. The AG initially took the radically flawed legal position that a memorandum to the Gov. from the DEP Commissioner and her hand written notes on a media clip were the Gov.’s “private property” and that my public disclosure of them constituted “theft”.

2. As NJ Gov., Whitman was photographed with NJ State Police conducting an illegal and racist stop and search “frisk” of a black man in Camden NJ. Photo here:

Whitman conducts her notorious “frisk” in Camden with State Police profiling team. Note the broad smile.

Whitman conducts her notorious “frisk” in Camden with State Police profiling team. Note the broad smile.

3. As US EPA Administrator, Whitman lied to the public about the risks of the air in southern Manhattan in the wake of the 9/11 attack. A federal Judge found that Whitman’s behavior “shocked the conscience”. Again, Whitman retaliated against EPA officials who challenged her ethics and decision-making (EPA Ombudsman Hugh Kaufman).

4. Whitman is a paid shill for the nuclear industry.

There is much, much more. For a more comprehensive critique, see the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee transcript of her confirmation hearing for EPA Administrator, specifically the testimony of NJ Chapter of Sierra Club and by Bill Neil, Conservation Director of the NJ Audubon Society.

This is not the kind of record of “public service” that reflects your organization’s values. In fact, it makes a mockery of them.

For additional details, and links to documents, see:

Christie Whitman Did The Same Things She Now Attacks Trump For

My bio is here:

Please separate your organization from Ms. Whitman.

Bill Wolfe

I also should have added that in an interview with a NY Times reporter, Whitman revealed that she didn’t know the difference between the depletion of the ozone layer and global warming. When the reporter gave Whitman the opportunity to correct herself as having misspoken inadvertently, Whitman stubbornly dug in and tried to fabricate a link between ozone depletion and warming.

Her quote in NY Times 12/21/00

“But when asked to discuss her views on the science behind global warming on Tuesday, Governor Whitman responded by citing her doubts about the causes of the hole in the protective ozone layer high in the atmosphere

She was asked: ”Global warming, what is your thought on what the state of science is and what can be done to address it?”

Mrs. Whitman said: ”Still somewhat uncertain. Clearly there’s a hole in the ozone, that has been identified. But I saw a study the other day that showed that that was closing. It’s not as clear, the cause and effect, as we would like it to be.”

When some experts on the atmosphere and pollution read a transcript of Mrs. Whitman’s statements, they said the governor had clearly confused two distinct, important global environmental problems: global warming and the ozone hole.

Today, asked to clarify her views, the governor said she might have misunderstood the question, but added that she did not think the two issues were ”not interrelated.”

”In both of those instances, I’m not sure that there’s a scientific consensus on how to deal with them,” Governor Whitman said today. ”There seems to be good enough evidence that both are occurring. But I am not aware of a uniformly agreed to scientific response, on either the causes or the solutions here.”

She just makes shit up to mask her ignorance.

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