EPA Challenged on Use of Discredited Consultants' Research

ARPN calls on policymakers to investigate EPA's longstanding relationship with a consulting firm that admitted to falsifying environmental assessments.

Daniel McGroarty, president of the American Resources Policy Network (ARPN) delivered a letter to the Congressman who oversees the EPA, and has urged them to investigate the Agency’s relationship with Stratus Consulting, a firm that admitted in a Federal court to filing falsified reports for Chevron.

In the Chevron lawsuit, Stratus Consulting was sued for racketeering and fraud, when Stratus published an affidavit accompanied by individual declarations disavowing environmental assessments it had produced that were used to win a $19 billion judgment against the Chevron in an Ecuadorian court.

"We were concerned by the news of this admission, as public records show that EPA has multiple active contracts with Stratus Consulting collectively worth up to tens of millions of taxpayer dollars," said McGroarty. "We also discovered that several research reports authored by Ann Maest, Managing Scientist for Stratus Consulting - who played a key role in producing and personally disavowed the falsified research in Ecuador - are currently being used to support a major environmental assessment by EPA."

Apparently aware of the concerns over the efficacy of the reports, EPA quickly conducted its own "peer-review" of these two documents (The Bristol Bay Assessment cites two non-peer-reviewed documents, Ms. Maest, Managing Scientist for Stratus Consulting), stating it was to ensure that they were, "of sufficient scientific quality and credibility to be incorporated into the second external review draft of the Bristol Bay Assessment."

"We're concerned that EPA could stop the development of what may be the largest-ever domestic copper resource before the permitting process has begun - and based on research presented by authors who have admitted falsifying their findings in other environmental studies," McGroarty said. "Given the recent admissions made by Stratus Consulting and its researchers, we hope that the agency will conduct a thorough review of its relationship with Stratus Consulting, including work contracted directly to the firm and its employees, as well as scientific studies published by the firm and its employees that the EPA has referenced to make any policy or support any regulatory actions."