EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt pushed back Thursday against a common talking point Democrats and activists use to criticize the agency’s decision to ban so-called secret science.
Confidential information contained inside studies used for EPA rulemaking can be “redacted,” Pruitt told California Rep. Raul Ruiz during a hearing Thursday. He was responding to Ruiz’s concern that making EPA research public could potentially lead to violation of privacy laws.
“Who is protecting the subjects in these studies?” Ruiz, a Democrat, asked Pruitt during the first few minutes of the Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.
“The confidential business information, along with the personal information, can be redacted from public viewing,” the embattled EPA chief responded.
The junior Democrat on the committee was unable to rebut Pruitt’s comment, so he took a different tact: accuse Pruitt of crafting policies that allow his “rich and powerful friends to create more pollution to increase profits at the expense of the common good.”
One Republican on the committee criticized Ruiz for using the hearing to elevate his status. “A classic display of innuendo and McCarthyism,” Republican Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia said about Ruiz’s line of questioning, adding that, “Some can’t resist the limelight.”
The testy back and forth comes as the agency is receiving pushback for engaging in a series of environmental rollbacks. Pruitt also targeting some of the techniques the EPA uses to enact regulations affecting the American economy.
He announced his ban on so-called secret science in a March interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation. Pruitt unveiled the policy Tuesday in the form of a proposed rule, which, if finalized, will make it harder for future administrations to repeal.
Any proposed rule must go through a comment period before it can be finalized.
“We need to make sure their data and methodology are published as part of the record,” Pruitt told TheDCNF in March. “Otherwise, it’s not transparent. It’s not objectively measured, and that’s important.”
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