Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a proposed rule on Tuesday to prevent the agency from relying on scientific studies that don’t publish the underlying data.
“The era of secret science at EPA is coming to an end,” Pruitt said in a statement. “The ability to test, authenticate, and reproduce scientific findings is vital for the integrity of rulemaking process.”
Pruitt first announced his initiative to rid EPA of “secret science” in an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation in March. The Obama administration relied on so-called “secret science” to justify billions of dollars worth of regulations.
“Americans deserve to assess the legitimacy of the science underpinning EPA decisions that may impact their lives,” Pruitt said.
EPA said the proposed rule would move the agency towards open data practices used by scientific journals and professional societies. The policy mirrors the HONEST Act introduced by Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith to end EPA’s use of “secret science.”
Smith and South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds, who introduced the Senate version of the HONEST Act, spoke at the signing ceremony at EPA headquarters on Tuesday.
“Today’s directive is a significant step toward making sure these decisions are not made behind closed doors with information accessible only to those writing the regulations, but rather in the full view of those who will be affected,” Rounds said.
“Administrator Pruitt rightfully is changing business as usual and putting a stop to hidden agendas,” Smith said.
Pruitt’s decision to use the rulemaking process to mandate data transparency, as opposed to a guidance or order, is significant because, if finalized, it will be harder for future administrations to repeal it.
Democrats and environmentalists oppose Pruitt’s data transparency rule, arguing it would restrict the scientific studies EPA could rely on for rulemaking and violate privacy rights of patients participating in health studies.
However, proponents of data transparency said researchers already have ways to share patient health data without violating privacy rights.
This sort of data is already routinely made public for research use,” JunkScience.com publisher Steve Milloy wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed.
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