The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to launch plans to restrict the use of science in rulemakings at the agency, according to recent news reports. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt shared his intentions for science reform at the agency with a group of conservatives during a closed-door meeting at the Heritage Foundation last week.
The scientific community views the effort as an attempt to obstruct the agency from issuing rules because many studies rely on scientific data that cannot be made public for reasons such as patient privacy or industry confidentiality. Betsy Southerland, a former senior EPA official said that publishing raw data opens scientists up to attacks from industry, which can contort data to advance a deregulatory agenda. She added that the effort is meant to “paralyze rulemaking” and is not about transparency but about benching peer-reviewed science that supports the regulation of pollution.