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Opinion

Senators: ‘EPA talking out of both sides of their mouth’ about illegal human experiments

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Barbara Hollingsworth

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, and fellow committee member Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., accused the Environmental Protection Agency of “talking out of both sides of their mouth” regarding new agency rules that would tighten standards for fine particulate matter – after EPA deliberately exposed 41 people to high concentrations of the pollutant.

The human experimentation was first reported by Steve Milloy at JunkScience.com.

“It is a concern that EPA would assert in the rulemaking process that PM2.5 exposure is deadly while simultaneously asserting in the waivers signed by participants in EPA human exposure studies that these exposures are not harmful,” Vitter and Sessions noted in their Feb. 5 letter.

In other words, EPA can’t have it both ways.

Last September, The Washington Examiner reported that EPA paid the unwitting human guinea pigs, "some elderly or suffering from asthma, hypertension or metabolic syndrome, $12 an hour to breathe concentrated diesel exhaust piped in directly from an idling truck parked outside EPA's facility in Chapel Hill, N.C.”

According to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria by former EPA scientist David Schnare, who now heads the American Tradition Institute's Environmental Law Center, EPA’s human experimentation violated the Nuremburg Code, federal law, and its own ethical standards. The lawsuit was dismissed Jan. 31 by federal Judge Anthony Trenga, who ruled that ATI did not have standing in the matter because its members were “not adversely affected or aggrieved.”

However, the EPA Office of Inspector General is still investigating whether the agency followed all applicable laws and procedures by exposing human test subjects to diesel fumes without obtaining proper consent. And as Milloy noted, the test subjects can still sue the government themselves for putting them in harm’s way.

Vitter and Sessions want EPA to delay implementation of the new regulations until the OIG investigation is complete and the agency completes a “statistically- and scientifically-sound analysis of recent PM2.5 data"  that presumably does not involve an idling truck.

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