Critics allege EPA’s new transparency rule has hidden pro-industry agenda | Science | AAAS
ab1630's bookmarks 2018-05-14
"When Scott Pruitt, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, D.C., announced last week that the agency plans to bar regulators from considering studies that have not made their underlying data public, he said it was to ensure the quality of the research used to shape new rules. “The era of secret science at EPA is coming to an end,” Pruitt said at a 24 April event (which was closed to the press) unveiling the proposed “transparency” rule. But longtime observers of EPA, including former senior agency officials, see a more troubling and targeted goal: undermining key studies that have helped justify stricter limits on air pollution. In particular, they say, the new policy is aimed at blocking EPA consideration of large epidemiological studies that have highlighted the health dangers of tiny particles of soot and other chemicals less than 2.5 microns in diameter. Those studies, which rest in part on confidential health information that is difficult to make public, have been under attack for decades from some industry groups and Republican lawmakers in Congress, who argue that the confidentiality masks flaws in the studies. The same interests lobbied heavily for the new EPA rule, and critics of the policy say it is just new clothing for an old—and largely discredited—argument. “It just keeps coming back in different forms. … It’s like malaria. Or maybe herpes would be a better analogy,” says toxicologist Dan Costa of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, who recently retired after leading EPA’s air research program for 14 years...."