Your editorial challenging the California Air Resources Board’s
integrity is a disservice to victims of air pollution as well as the
staff and board of perhaps the premier government agency in the state.
The facts are that a career employee who compiled health assessment
information for an important truck and bus regulation falsely claimed
to have completed his doctorate from an accredited university – a
degree not required of his position. Second, the full board was not
advised of this until after the board voted. The regulation is a rule
that is designed to slash fine particulate matter that is widely
recognized by the scientific community to be a cause of asthma
exacerbations, hospitalization for heart and lung problems, and even
But there was no abuse, manipulation or dishonesty of any type. No
one has questioned the accuracy or integrity of the report. After CARB
management was made aware of the issue, CARB asked the same group of 10
external experts to reconsider their prior comments in light of this
employee’s bad judgment. All nine who responded confirmed their
original comments on the report.
The employee involved was also subject to a disciplinary proceeding.
Based on the record we have reviewed, there is no evidence to
question the regulation, the supporting studies or board ARB
management. The board has learned from this unfortunate event by
putting in place new safeguards and procedures, committing to verifying
academic credentials of new employees, and adopting new protocol to
assure that all pertinent information is provided to board members
before all votes. As academic scientists who have observed the board
from afar for decades and now serve on it, we assert that under the
current leadership it is the most effective and competent government
agency we have worked with.
JOHN R. BALMES, M.D.
California Air Resources Board Member
DANIEL SPERLING, Ph.D.