Yesterday I reported on an article in The Daily Caller that turned reality on its head by claiming that the EPA’s attempt to avoid hiring 230,000 new employees to administer greenhouse gas (GHG) emission permits was actually the EPA planning to hire those employees. As I pointed out, the article had enough major errors that it needed either significant corrections or a full retraction.
Today the executive editor of The Daily Caller, David Martosko, attempted to justify the original article in an editorial. However, Martosko’s failed defense of an indefensible article means that The Daily Caller now has two articles that are so filled with errors and misrepresentations that they should be corrected or retracted entirely.
Martosko correctly wrote that the effects of the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations was more than the EPA expected. He also correctly wrote that the EPA wrote a tailoring rule that would be implemented in phases so that the impacts to the regulated entities could be minimized. He also correctly wrote that there is a federal court case pending about whether or not the EPA’s tailoring rule is legal with respect to the Clean Air Act. Unfortunately, everything else that Martosko wrote about the EPA’s tailoring rule, the illusionary 230,000 new EPA jobs, and the pending court case is either wrong or missing critical information.
Martosko wrote that the EPA would have to hire another 230,000 employees in order to regulate 6.1 million GHG emitters. Martosko neglected to mention that the EPA presented this as a choice in their court filing – either radically increase the size and budget of the EPA or deal with a permitting process that would lengthen from 6-10 months today to approximately 10 years, but within the EPA’s current budget and workforce.
Martosko wrote that the EPA “was in court to ask a court for permission” to implement the phased-in tailoring rule, and that the court case was “presumably the only way the EPA can avoid the $21 billion hiring spree….” This is simply false. As I mentioned yesterday, the EPA was challenged in federal court by multiple states’ Attorneys General and a host of industry groups. It’s those states and industry groups who are demanding that the EPA regulate according to a strict interpretation of the Clean Air Act, and it’s this strict interpretation that would force the EPA to hire more workers or lengthen the permitting process. So it’s not the EPA who is asking permission of the court, it’s the states’ Attorneys General who are challenging the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act.
Martosko wrote that the EPA’s tailoring rule “doesn’t seem to comply with the Clean Air Act” because the Act “doesn’t allow the government to pick and choose” who to regulate. This may well be true, but Martosko can’t know that – there’s a court case pending in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (#10-1073) that will decide this very question. Either Martosko has some unique portal to the future, or he’s prejudging the results of a federal lawsuit.
Martosko wrote that the EPA may find itself in an “all-or-nothing scenario” where it has to hire more regulators and the taxpayers have to pay the bill. Martosko has to know that he’s wrong about this too. As I mentioned above, the EPA could choose to extend the permitting process instead of hiring new workers. Or the EPA could hire some workers and not extend the permitting process quite as much. But there’s always another option – ask Congress for relief from the strict rules of the Clean Air Act. As I pointed out yesterday, this is one of the two likely reasons that industry wants the EPA to strictly enforce GHG emissions at the legal limit set out in the Clean Air Act – to force the EPA to ask a skeptical Congress for changes to the Clean Air Act, which would open up the entire Act to revision by a regulation-unfriendly Congress.
Martosko wrote that the EPA is “committed to regulating everyone – at the full $21 billion cost – at some point down the road.” While true to some extent, Martosko neglects to mention a critical point made by the EPA in their court brief – the EPA expects to learn enough about how to regulate smaller emitters during the phase-in process that the EPA will not need to spend that much money, hire that many people, and/or add that much time to the permitting process. Which is a point that Martosko, and Boyle in his original article on Monday, would have known if they had, in fact, written a story that was, as Martosko claimed, “well reported, carefully sourced, and solidly written.” One out of three isn’t so bad, I guess.
Today, Martosko committed the same sins of omission and uttered the same objectively false claims that Boyle did in the original article on Monday. As a result The Daily Caller now has a credibility problem that is twice as large as it was – two articles that require major corrections or retractions instead of just one.
The Daily Caller has an opportunity to show both its readers and its critics that it has journalistic integrity by correcting or retracting both articles. Or not.