Roger Pielke, Jr. has this pretty well covered at his blog, but I want to point it out here since, like most corrections in newspapers, the EPA’s decision against a manager who shut down Alan Carlin’s comments is unlikely to get nearly the attention that the initial fuss did. I didn’t post about it here, but tried to make the case over at Science Progress (until the kind of commenters that make Climate Progress a place to avoid showed up) that the EPA manager handled the case of Alan Carlin in a way that at least looked like the same kind of muzzling that James Hansen complained about during the Bush Administration.
In this case, Carlin was on the other side of the climate issue, and nearly no one who supported Hansen came to Carlin’s side. Carlin’s comments at issue were not of particularly good quality (there were concerns of plagiarism and of general rigor), but the scientific communication was handled badly. It looked liked it was quashed when it could have died on the merits. The EPA has agreed, according to the New York Times. Carlin remains on the payroll, his comments have been included in the public record, and the employee who rejected Carlin’s material has been formally reprimanded.
In short, Carlin, an EPA employee who has participated in climate change policy discussions at the agency, had some of his comments barred from the formal review process. This goes beyond disagreeing or ignoring the comments and essentially erases them from the public record. It opened up the EPA to charges of cover-up, an action that was way out of proportion to the problem of a comment that didn’t support the ultimate EPA decision. Again, Roger has more details. Chris Mooney, who waged his own war on science in opposing Carlin, is conveniently on a vow of writing silence while on a fellowship, but I would expect him to ignore this even if he wasn’t. Prove me wrong, Chris.