Pruitt Has a New Plan for Removing Science from the EPA

At the rate new scandals keep emerging about EPA Director Scott Pruitt, it’s a wonder how the man still has a job. For as long as he has the job, though, Pruitt is making it clear that he’ll continue undermining environmental protections at every turn. His latest scheme is to implement a new rule that would effectively block a lot of scientific research from being used to formulate EPA policy.

On Tuesday, Pruitt signed a rule proposal, which he has teased this proposal to friendly media outlets in recent weeks. Basically, the idea is to set new “standards” for what kind of research may be deemed valid and usable by the EPA.

These standards require that all studies considered by the EPA have their data accessible to the public. That may not sound unreasonable at first, but it would quickly eliminate decades of public health studies that don’t meet these standards, research that so many of our existing environmental regulations are based upon.

According to Pruitt and fellow conservatives, these standards are necessary to ensure “transparency.” They insist that it’s essential to allow members of the public to replicate the studies to check the results of environmental research themselves. The public Pruitt speaks of is not necessarily comprised of scientists – besides any research accepted by the EPA is already subject to a thorough peer-review process. What fellow scientists have to say about the science should carry more weight.

It’s rich that this supposed need for transparency is coming from a man who has been caught lying about supposed death threats against him, giving huge unapproved raises to his friends and wasting taxpayer money on various unnecessary luxuries at the EPA.

Let’s be honest: Pruitt cares nothing for transparency, it’s just a word he’s using to push through his pro-corporation/fossil fuel agenda. If he can suddenly say there’s insufficient research that meets his new standards on issues like pollution and chemicals, then he’d be able to adjust EPA policy accordingly since proof of their harms suddenly doesn’t exist.

The scientific community is already pushing back. Nearly a thousand scientists of the Union of Concerned Scientists wrote a letter to Pruitt, which reads in part:

“There are ways to improve transparency in the decision-making process, but restricting the use of science would improve neither transparency nor the quality of EPA decision-making. If fully implemented, this proposal would greatly weaken EPA’s ability to comprehensively consider the scientific evidence across the full array of health studies.”

Pruitt’s rule will not only toss out existing research, but also make it difficult for new research to be utilized by the EPA. That’s because so many health studies utilize sensitive patient data that can’t be released for public consumption. Other environmental research just plain can’t be replicated – not ethically anyway – like when scientists look at the consequences of an oil spill or exposure to contaminated water.

Last year, Pruitt said in an interview, “Science should not be something that’s just thrown about to try to dictate policy in Washington, D.C.” It’s abundantly clear that Pruitt’s latest proposal is not about having better scientific research, but about pushing scientific research out of his way.

Take Action

For real, though – how does Pruitt still have a job? His ethical scandals should be more than enough to push him out of this role already. Let’s not allow him to further undermine the EPA’s reliance on scientific research when we can justly get him fired instead. Sign the petition if you agree!

Photo credit: Thinkstock

36 comments

Peggy B
Peggy B17 days ago

Who's paying to keep him in that position?

SEND
Angela AWAY K
Angela Kabout a month ago

noted

SEND
Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld1 months ago

What is wrong with government transparency? I think Kevin is just using this as another attack on someone he dislikes. I am not a big fan of him either, but I am all in favor of more transparency (and less secrecy) in government.

SEND
Susanne R
Susanne R1 months ago

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Mission Statement:

EPA's mission is to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment — air, water, and land — upon which life depends.

With a mission statement like that...so short, sweet, specific, and to-the-point...Trump really thinks Pruitt is the man for the job? It appears that he failed to read the mission statements of every agency and bureau when he made his appointments. I guess we all know (or most of us, anyway) that his choices were based on who would make it easier for corporate America to make the most money. As far as our environment and our health are concerned, trump sold us out by appointing Pruitt. Consider who trump chose to be secretary of the treasury: Steve Mnuchin, a corporate vulture who made BILLIONS off the housing bubble and put tens of thousands of former homeowners out into the streets. But he does protect the president and the top 1%, and that was all that mattered to trump when he made his appointment.

SEND
Freya H
Freya H1 months ago

This is what happens when Progressives allow themselves to become disorganized and disenchanted. We need to keep signing petitions and contacting our (alleged) representatives in D.C. to get rid of this creep. Support genuinely Progressive candidates at every level, and keep building the blue wave until it is a blue tsunami to sweep out the greedocracy. This November could be the last chance we have to turn our country around - by nonviolent means.

SEND
Marty Price
Marty P1 months ago

Bill Eagle...Never before have we had such poor choices for a President's cabinet that's because never before have you had such a poor President.

SEND
Winn A
Winnie A1 months ago

Pruitt should be out of this job NOW.

SEND
Paul Carter
Paul Carter1 months ago

Oh come on, everyone knows - the earth is flat, is the center of the universe, is only 6,000 years old and everything was made in a week. Well, anyone who is still living in the superstitious dark ages and wants the rest of us there with them. Everyone in power, with an agenda to help their rich friends, find denying science is a useful way of dodging difficult questions.

SEND
Ruth S
Ruth S1 months ago

Thanks.

SEND
Debbi W
Debbi W1 months ago

I have a better idea. Impeach Pruitt.

SEND