Dem AGs ask Pruitt to halt 'transparency' proposal to restrict EPA science

Dem AGs ask Pruitt to halt 'transparency' proposal to restrict EPA science
© Greg Nash

Eight Democratic attorneys general are pushing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Fight between EPA watchdog, agency lawyers heats up | Top EPA official under investigation over document destruction | DOJ issues subpoenas to automakers in California emissions pact Top EPA official under investigation in document destruction EPA rolls back rule on waste from coal-fired power plants MORE to rescind a proposed regulation that would restrict the science the agency could use in writing and enforcing regulations.

The group, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D), hinted that they might sue the EPA if it moves forward with the rule that they and other critics say is an attempt to stop the EPA from using some major findings on health, pollution and other issues.

“In light of the far-reaching impact the proposal could have on EPA’s mission to protect public health and the environment, we ask that you withdraw the proposed rule and convene a process to first consult with the National Academy of Sciences and other independent scientists and science organizations before deciding whether any proposed changes to EPA’s current use of scientific evidence are in order,” they wrote.

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The proposal released last month sought to improve transparency in scientific decisionmaking and stop the use of “secret science.” Scientific findings and data used by the EPA would have to be reproducible and completely available to anyone wishing to scrutinize it.

Pruitt said at the time that the proposal showed “an agency taking responsibility for how we do our work, in respecting process … so that we can enhance confidence in our decision making.”

Critics say the rule is unnecessary and would only hinder the EPA in its mission to protect public health and the environment.

The Democratic attorneys general, representing seven states and Washington, D.C., also asked Pruitt to extend the current 30-day public comment period by “at least” 150 days, which would add up to a half a year.