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Tuesday, March 20, 2018
EXCLUSIVE: Scott Pruitt Will End EPA’s Use Of ‘Secret Science’ To Justify Regulations
The following article
appeared in the Daily Caller on March 19th
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Administrator Scott Pruitt will soon end his agency’s use of “secret science”
to craft regulations.
“We need to make sure their data and
methodology are published as part of the record,” Pruitt said in an exclusive
interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Otherwise, it’s not
transparent. It’s not objectively measured, and that’s important.”
Pruitt will reverse long-standing EPA
policy allowing regulators to rely on non-public scientific data in crafting
rules. Such studies have been used to justify tens of billions of dollars worth
EPA regulators would only be allowed
to consider scientific studies that make their data available for public
scrutiny under Pruitt’s new policy. Also, EPA-funded studies would need to make
all their data public.
“When we do contract that science
out, sometimes the findings are published; we make that part of our rule-making
processes, but then we don’t publish the methodology and data that went into
those findings because the third party who did the study won’t give it to us,”
“And we’ve said that’s fine — we’re
changing that as well,” Pruitt told TheDCNF.
Conservatives have long criticized
EPA for relying on scientific studies that published their findings but not the
underlying data. However, Democrats and environmental activists have challenged
past attempts to bring transparency to studies used in rule making.
Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith
pushed legislation to end the use of what he calls “secret science” at EPA.
another policy in 2017 backed by Smith against EPA-funded scientists serving on
agency advisory boards.
“If we use a third party to engage in
scientific review or inquiry, and that’s the basis of rulemaking, you and every
American citizen across the country deserve to know what’s the data, what’s the
methodology that was used to reach that conclusion that was the underpinning of
what — rules that were adopted by this agency,” Pruitt explained.
Pruitt’s pending science transparency
policy mirrors Smith’s HONEST Act, which passed the House in March 2017. Smith’s
office was pleased to hear Pruitt was adopting another policy the House
Committee on Science, Space and Technology chairman championed.
“The chairman has long worked toward
a more open and transparent rule-making process at EPA, and he looks forward to
any announcement from Administrator Pruitt that would achieve that goal,”
committee spokeswoman Thea McDonald told TheDCNF.
No wonder the left didn't like Trump's pick for the EPA!
Junk science crusader Steve Milloy
also called on EPA to end its use of “secret science” in rule making,
especially when it comes to studies on the toxicity of fine particulates in the
EPA has primarily relied on two 1990s
studies linking fine particulate pollution to premature death. Neither studies
have made their data public, but EPA used their findings to justify sweeping
air quality regulations.
Reported benefits from EPA rules are
“mostly attributable to the reduction in public exposure to fine particulate
matter,” according to the White House Office of Management and Budget report.
That’s equivalent to billions of dollars.
In fact, one of EPA’s most expensive
regulation on the books, called MATS, derived most of its estimated benefits
from reducing particulates not from reducing mercury, which the rule was
ostensibly crafted to address.
EPA estimated MATS would cost $8.2
billion but yield between $28 billion to $77 billion in public health benefits.
It’s a similar story for the Clean Power Plan, which EPA estimated would cost $8.4
billion and yield from $14 billion to $34 billion in health and climate
Democrats and environmentalists have
largely opposed attempts to require EPA rely on transparent scientific data.
Said data would restrict the amount of studies EPA can use, but a major
objection is making data public would reveal confidential patient data,
“A lot of the data that EPA uses to
protect public health and ensure that we have clean air and clean water relies
on data that cannot be publicly released,” Union of Concerned Scientists
representative Yogin Kothari told E&E News.
“It really hamstrings the ability of
the EPA to do anything, to fulfill its mission,” Kothari said.
Milloy, however, countered and argued
it’s a “red herring” to claim that forcing regulators to use public science
data would harm patient privacy.
“The availability of such data sets
is nothing new,” said Milloy, publisher of JunkScience.com and senior fellow at
the Energy and Environmental Legal Institute.
“The state of California, for
example, makes such data available under the moniker, ‘Public Use Death
Files,'” Milloy said. “We used such data in the form of over two million
anonymized death certificates in our recent California study on particulates
“Opponents of data transparency are
just trying to hide the data from independent scrutiny,” Milloy added. “But the
studies that use this data are taxpayer-financed, and they are used to regulate