23 April 2018

The EPA – Secret Science and Transparency

Posted by Chris McEntee

AGU CEO/Executive Director Chris McEntee

Today, AGU submitted a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt in which we voiced a number of concerns about upcoming policy changes at the agency related to the transparency and accuracy of scientific information. (Read the full letter here.)

Specifically, the letter calls out the problems with a proposed policy mandating that the EPA consider only publicly available scientific data and information when crafting rule-making. These proposed requirements are based on the HONEST Act, a bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives in March 2017, despite significant criticisms from the scientific community  over the likelihood that the bill would end up forcing the EPA to exclude data essential to making informed public policy decisions, thereby potentially exacerbating threats to public health and the environment.

In addition, we denounced the agency’s reported directives to its employees to use scientifically inaccurate information about climate change when talking to the public.

This letter follows AGU’s earlier public statement in response to President Trump’s Executive Order to overhaul the Clean Power Plan, and From the Prow posts about both Mr. Pruitt’s plan to disallow EPA grantees from serving on scientific advisory panels and statements questioning the scientific consensus around climate change.

AGU stands ready to work with Administrator Pruitt and the President to ensure that that best scientific information is shared freely with policymakers and the public to help guide decisions that will protect the nation. In a year in which the nation experienced 16 natural disasters, inflicting $215 billion in economic losses and claiming hundreds of lives, we must ensure the rapid and clear dissemination and use by decision makers of the most current, peer-reviewed scientific information.