EPA releases new soot pollution standard based on secret data sets

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday a new standard to reduce soot pollution, ignoring Republican objections that the new standard is based on scientific processes and data which were not made available to the public.

Republicans on the House science committee sent a letter on Thursday to top Obama administration officials, including the EPA’s chief administrator, Lisa Jackson, expressing their concerns that the new soot rule was rushed to comply with a court order, and relied heavily on non-transparent data.

Republicans also called on the administration to make the secret data sets publicly available, as well as to make sure future regulatory decisions are based on publicly available available information.

“As you know, Members of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee have repeatedly requested release of the scientific data that EPA uses to justify alleged benefits of this rule (as well as the majority of EPA’s Clean Air Act benefit claims for non- PM2.5 rules),” reads the letter.

The committee’s letter also said that “it is essential that EPA and the White House make the underlying data linking PM2.5 and mortality publicly available in a manner sufficient for analysis by independent scientists and researchers. This is especially important as EPA is subjecting taxpayers that funded this research to its costly regulatory consequences, without ever allowing public review or scrutiny of the information.”

According to the committee, for more than one year, the Obama administration has denied requests from committee members to make the relevant data sets available.