Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has announced that he will bar the use of some scientific studies. He has announced that he alone will decide what is and isn’t acceptable science for the agency to use when developing policies that affect your health and the environment. Photo: Tom Brenner / The New York Times

By Gina McCarthy and Janet G. McCabe
26 March 2018

(The New York Times) – Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has announced that he alone will decide what is and isn’t acceptable science for the agency to use when developing policies that affect your health and the environment.

It is his latest effort to cripple the agency. Mr. Pruitt, who as Oklahoma’s attorney general described himself as “a leading advocate against the E.P.A.’s activist agenda,” said in an interview published in The Daily Caller last week that he would no longer allow the agency to use studies that include nonpublic scientific data to develop rules to safeguard public health and prevent pollution.

Opponents of the agency and of mainstream climate science call these studies “secret science.” But that’s simply not true. Peer review ensures that the analytic methodologies underlying studies funded by the agency are sound.

Some of those studies, particularly those that determine the effects of exposure to chemicals and pollution on health, rely on medical records that by law are confidential because of patient privacy policies. These studies summarize the analysis of raw data and draw conclusions based on that analysis. Other government agencies also use studies like these to develop policy and regulations, and to buttress and defend rules against legal challenges. They are, in fact, essential to making sound public policy. […]

We don’t have the details of the new policy. But don’t be fooled by this talk of transparency. Mr. Pruitt and some conservative members of Congress are setting up a nonexistent problem in order to prevent the E.P.A. from using the best available science. These studies adhere to all professional standards and meet every expectation of the scientific community in terms of peer review and scientific integrity. In the case of the air pollution studies, a rigorous follow-up examination was done by the Health Effects Institute, a nonprofit research group that studies air pollution. The institute corroborated the findings.

In taking this action, Mr. Pruitt appears to be adopting the policies of the Honest and Open New E.P.A. Science Treatment Act, a bill aimed at the agency. Conservative lawmakers have tried to pass versions of this bill before to shackle the agency’s rule making. That law would prohibit the E.P.A. from taking any action “unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support” it is “specifically identified, and publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results.”

An analysis of a similar bill introduced in 2015 by the Congressional Budget Office estimated it would cost $250 million a year over the first few years to carry out because it would require new “data collection, correspondence and coordination with study authors, construction of a database to house necessary information, and public dissemination” of the information.

The analysis, which did not appear to take into account the cost of redacting details like trade secrets or personally identifiable medical information, also predicted the agency would reduce by half the number of studies it relies on in developing policies and regulations because of the cost of complying with the law.

“The quality of the agency’s work would be compromised if that work relies on a significantly smaller collection of scientific studies,” the analysis found.

This approach would undermine the nation’s scientific credibility. [more]

Scott Pruitt’s Attack on Science Would Paralyze the E.P.A.

1 comments :

  1. Anonymous said...

    From 407ppm, to 408ppm.

    https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/carbon-dioxide/

     

 

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