Pruitt unveils controversial ‘transparency’ rule limiting what research EPA can use - The Washington Post
ab1630's bookmarks 2018-04-25
"Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt moved Tuesday to limit what science can be used in writing agency regulations, a change long sought by conservatives. The proposed rule would only allow the EPA to consider studies where the underlying data is made available publicly. Such restrictions could affect how the agency protects Americans from toxic chemicals, air pollution and other health risks. Pruitt and proponents describe the new approach as an advance for transparency, one that will increase Americans’ trust and confidence in the research on which EPA decisions are based. “Today is a red-letter day,” he told a group of supporters at agency headquarters. “The science that we use is going to be transparent. It’s going to be reproducible.” But a chorus of scientists and public health groups warn that the rule would effectively block the EPA from relying on long-standing, landmark studies on the harmful effects of air pollution and pesticide exposure. Such research often involves confidential personal or medical histories or proprietary information. The move reflects a broader effort already underway to shift how the EPA conducts and uses science to guide its work. Pruitt has upended the standards for who can serve on its advisory committees, barring scientists who received agency grants for their research while still allowing those funded by industry. His announcement Tuesday came as the administrator faces increasing heat for ethics and management decisions — from both sides of the political aisle, with even President Trump privately voicing more concern over the growing number of allegations. Pruitt only focused on the proposed rule during his remarks, saying his agency was “taking responsibility for how we do our work and respecting process.” He made clear he intends the new requirements to be lasting ones. “This is not a policy,” he said. “This is not a memo.” The proposal will be subject to a 30-day comment period, EPA officials said. Scientific organizations are already campaigning to block the rule from being finalized. Based on previous court cases, it could prompt legal challenges if implemented...."