Pruitt’s Own Scientist Appointees Challenge EPA Science Restrictions | InsideClimate News
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"Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt faces harsh criticism from members of the agency's Science Advisory Board (SAB)—including from some he named to the panel himself—over his plan to restrict the types of scientific evidence the agency can use in writing EPA rules. Ten members of an SAB work group, in a signed memorandum, called for the full board to scrutinize Pruitt's proposal at a meeting on May 31, saying his approach was designed without necessary input from the scientific community. Leading national science organizations have mounted a campaign to reject Pruitt's approach. Pruitt's proposal would no longer allow the EPA to use scientific studies where the underlying data is not public. The move could rule out health studies that promised participants confidentiality—some of which have served as the underpinning of regulations, especially clean air standards. The policy takes up a cause long-championed by the fossil fuel industry and its allies in Congress. "The era of secret science has come to an end," Pruitt said in announcing the proposal on April 24. The SAB advisers, all outside experts in a range of environmental sciences, said curbing EPA's use of epidemiological health studies could skew regulatory outcomes with long-term consequences. "The development of guidelines and rules in this arena requires careful collaboration between the government and the scientific community," the science advisers said in the memo, first reported by InsideEPA. Although the advisers applauded the purported goal of transparency, they said "the precise design of the rule appears to have been developed without a public process for soliciting input from the scientific community." According to the advisers, Pruitt's proposal did not take into consideration previous steps that the EPA had taken to enhance transparency, nor efforts by the scientific community to ensure greater public access to data. The group said the proposal also "oversimplifies" the effort that would be involved in redacting scientific data to meet the new EPA requirements. "Without access to the restricted data, regulatory programs could become more or less stringent than they otherwise would be, with consequences for both regulatory costs and benefits," the memo said. It noted that a similar proposal had stalled in Congress for several years...."