ACTION ALERT: Tell EPA’s Scott Pruitt: “Stop Your War on Science”

April 29th, 2018 - by admin

CREDO Action & Madison Dapcevich / Forbes & ILF Science – 2018-04-29 00:37:32

Tell EPA’s Scott Pruitt: “Stop Your War on Science”

CREDO Action Petition

The petition to Environmental Protection
Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt:

“EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s proposal to eliminate valuable data from the EPA’s decision-making process will threaten public health and ultimately cost lives. Follow the guidance of the scientific community and do not adopt this disingenuous and harmful plan.”

ACTION: Sign petition here.

WASHINGTON (April 24, 2018) — Scott Pruitt wants to delete decades of landmark scientific research from the EPA’s decision-making process.

Trump’s industry-friendly EPA administrator has proposed a dramatic change to the way the EPA handles scientific data. If he is successful, he will intentionally blind the agency to the well-documented links between pollution and public health.

Pruitt’s escalating war on science has a clear goal: ending the regulations that protect us from smog, pesticides, climate change and other dangerous threats to our health and the environment.

Pruitt and the rest of the Trump regime are willing to risk human lives to make their friends a little richer. To fight back, we must stand up for science.

Pruitt’s plan is sneaky. In the name of “transparency,” he is proposing that when the EPA crafts regulations, it should ignore research studies that do not have publicly available data. (1) The catch is that research on public health often includes confidential personal or medical histories, so researchers cannot ethically release this data to the public.

If Pruitt’s proposal had been enacted in the past, the federal government would have been unable to consider groundbreaking studies that exposed the health risks of leaded gasoline and fine-particle air pollution. (2) If the government had ignored that science, many more Americans would have died prematurely.

Scientists, not industry shills like Pruitt, should be the ones deciding which studies are valid. Qualified scientists can already obtain access to anonymized data from the EPA, so EPA studies have already been investigated, peer-reviewed and scrutinized.

Instead of throwing out hallmark research, much of it funded by taxpayers through the EPA, Pruitt should be following the guidance of real scientific experts.

ACTION: Tell Scott Pruitt’s EPA: Stop your war on science. Drop the plan to eliminate valuable research from the EPA’s decision making. Click this link to sign the petition.

Thanks for fighting back,
Brandy Doyle, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

(1) Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, “Pruitt unveils controversial ‘transparency’ rule limiting what research EPA can use,” The Washington Post, April 24, 2018.

(2) Trevor Nace, “EPA Chief Scott Pruitt: Delete Decades Of Science In The Name Of ‘Transparency,'” Forbes, April 24, 2018.

Pruitt Wants To Delete Decades Of Science
For The Sake Of “Transparency”

Madison Dapcevich / Forbes & ILF Science

(April 25, 2018) — In an effort to be more “transparent”, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed a new rule Tuesday that would essentially eliminate decades of scientific studies used to inform regulatory decisions and policy-making.

The rule requires raw data to be released with any research used to write regulation, which could discount any research that includes confidential medical information and slow down the rule-making process by forcing scientific replication.

Any study used by the agency will be required to use data that is publicly available, as reported by the Washington Post. In many cases, this data is typically anonymous and includes personal health information protected by confidentiality agreements between study participants and researchers not readily available to the public.

If that information — which could include data on mental health, reproductive health, and family history, among many other things — isn’t available then the study effectively becomes null from the EPA’s standpoint.

Pruitt says the rule makes these studies more transparent as it allows anybody to obtain the same information the EPA used to inform its decision. In reality, a qualified scientist could access that same data while maintaining discretion (you know, that whole peer-review concept that’s been around for more than a century).

Nearly 1,000 scientists signed a letter urging the Administrator to reconsider, citing ethical issues and concerns over compromising research.

“[The] EPA can only protect our air and keep us safe from harmful chemicals if it takes full advantage of the wealth of scientific research that is available to the agency,” it reads. Critics say it restricts the agency from using the best available science to make decisions — which some argue is driven by politics and not science — and will limit understanding of environmental impacts on health by blocking traditional, peer-reviewed studies that rely on anonymity.

Previous efforts like the HONEST Act in 2017 and the Secret Science Reform Act in 2015 have moved through Congress and failed, but the rule effectively bypasses Congress.

The text of the proposal says the Administrator can provide exemptions for “confidential business information” on a “case-by-case basis”, reports the Huffington Post.

The proposal comes after internal EPA emails were obtained by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in three separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filings detailing the proposed “Trojan Horse Policy”, which were pulled from the website after three days.

UCS said the records showed EPA officials were more concerned about the “release of industry trade secrets than they were about sensitive private medical information”. You can read the more than 100 responsive records here.

It’s not immediately clear when the proposed rule will be published. Generally speaking, the public will have between 30 and 60 days following publication to issue comments for consideration by the agency.

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