One of the earliest projects I took on as a citizen activist was promoting the work of former UCLA professor, Dr. James Enstrom, an epidemiologist who challenged the voodoo science used by the California Air Resources Board to pass stiff, new air emission regulations.

David French of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) explained what subsequently happened to this heroic whistle-blower:

The facts of the case were astounding. As the environmentalist Left pushed new, job-killing regulations in the interests of “public health,” Dr. Enstrom took his own look at the data and determined that the health threat from diesel emissions was being wildly overstated. As he looked further, he discovered that the lead researcher pushing the new regulations actually possessed a fraudulent degree, purchased from “Thornhill University,” a shady, long-distance diploma mill. Moreover, members of the state’s “scientific review panel” tasked with evaluating the science had in some cases overstayed term limits by decades. At least one was a known ideological radical. (He was a member of the infamous “Chicago Seven.”) Dr. Enstrom did what a scientist should do. He exposed public corruption, called out fake scientific credentials, and worked to save California from onerous and unnecessary regulations.

So UCLA fired him. After more than 30 years on the job.

Justice has prevailed in the case ACLJ filed suit on behalf of Dr. Enstrom, which alleged school officials unlawfully terminated his appointment as a Researcher in violation of his First Amendment rights and mishandled tens of thousands of dollars of his funding.

Not only did the Regents agree to pay Dr. Enstrom $140,000, but they also have effectively rescinded the termination, agreeing to Dr. Enstrom’s use of the title “Retired Researcher” (as opposed to acknowledgment as a non-titled terminated employee) and his continued access to UCLA resources he previously enjoyed during his appointment. “This is a fantastic result for Dr. Enstrom,” said David French, ACLJ Senior Counsel. “Dr. Enstrom has dedicated himself to public advocacy on significant scientific issues, at no small cost to himself because of the controversial nature of his research. It was a privilege assisting Dr. Enstrom in obtaining this terrific settlement.”

The settlement is particularly important to Dr. Enstrom because, he says, “it shows that UCLA and the UC Regents have not been able to suppress a politically incorrect scientific dissenter.” …

This settlement marks a victory not just for Dr. Enstrom but for academic freedom generally. It sends a resounding message to public universities that attempts to silence dissenting viewpoints and eradicate opposition to institutional orthodoxy are costly—and ultimately losing—battles.

And while that is one small win for science, a bigger victory for the nation is possible if new rules related to containing the regulatory extravagance of the Environmental Protection Agency are passed.

H.R. 1030, the Secret Science Reform Act of 2015, is due to come before the full House shortly. The purpose of this legislation is “to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible.”

Dr. Enstrom indicates that Congressman Lamar Smith cited him in connection with his efforts to force EPA to use transparent scientific results.

This bill is not coming a moment too soon. During a recent Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, Senator Jeff Sessions grilled EPA chief Gina McCarthy on her agency’s grab for money and power that is entirely based on shaky science. During the exchange, McCarthy could not explain whether climate change models were correct, and the Sen. Sessions drilled down into data that McCarthy either wanted to skip over or amend.

SESSIONS: All right. Carbon pollution is CO2, and that’s really not a pollutant; that’s a plant food, and it doesn’t harm anybody except that it might include temperature increases. Let me ask you one more time: Are you asserting, just give me this answer; if you take the average of the models predicting how fast the temperature would increase, is the temperature in fact increasing less than that or more than that?

McCARTHY: I cannot answer that question specifically.

SESSIONS: Mr. Chairman, I would just say, this is a stunning development, that the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, who should know more than anybody else in the world, who’s proposing hundreds of billions of dollars in costs to prevent this climate and temperature increases, doesn’t know whether their projections have been right or wrong.

Citizens interested in supporting this bill can CLICK HERE to contact their congress members.

Hopefully, the timing of Enstrom’s victory is an omen that the era a voodoo science is over.


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