Posted by: Barry Bickmore | August 27, 2013

SL Trib: Chris Stewart and LaMar Smith–Conspiracy Theorists

As the new Chairman of the House Environment Subcommittee, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) isn’t about resting on his laurels, refusing to spend hard-earned taxpayer dollars.  No, he is busy spending your money to protect corporations from having to shoulder the cost of adverse health effects of air pollution.  If corporations benevolently distribute jobs to the poor, boosting the economy, is it their fault everyone else has to put up with the asthma and various other diseases that go with it?

Ok, wait… air pollution isn’t very popular, nowadays, so how can House Republicans let the polluters off the hook, while acting like they’re being completely reasonable?  I KNOW.  They can attack scientists for being part of the liberal conspiracy to take away our GOD-GIVEN FREEDOMS!

Judy Fahys reports in the Salt Lake Tribune that Rep. Stewart has teamed up with fellow genius Rep. LaMar Smith (R-Texas) to demand that the EPA release the data used in a couple large studies of the health effects of air pollution.  Now, sure–lots of other studies (using different data) have confirmed the results of those two studies, and an independent industry- and government-funded institute already spent 3 years confirming the results of the studies–but the fact is that the studies in question have slavishly followed ultra-liberal “laws” that forbid them from releasing health data of patients in any form that would allow someone to connect the data to the person (e.g., by looking up obituaries).  THEY MUST BE HIDING SOMETHING!!!  I mean, what other purpose could ultra-liberal privacy laws have, than to provide cover for a giant conspiracy?

One of the researchers being attacked is BYU economist C. Arden Pope.  Judy interviewed me, too–presumably because I’m a Republican scientist, and quoted me strongly implying that Stewart is a nut.

For Barry Bickmore, a BYU geochemist, the attacks on air-pollution science are the latest examples of “nutty beliefs” about scientific issues from the GOP.

Bickmore, who takes on “climate deniers” in his Climate Asylum blog, said this controversy is the latest example of the manufacturing of uncertainty to accomplish political aims, just as politicians have done in the past to discredit the science surrounding secondhand smoke and the addictiveness of nicotine.

“This is just par for the course,” he said. “This is the same thing going on — some of the same people, too.”

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