Dem lawmakers request Interior chief rescind order on ‘open science’ | TheHill

“Democratic lawmakers are asking Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to rethink his secretarial order “Promoting Open Science,” fearing it will do just the opposite.

Four House Democrats, led by Rep. Raul Grijalva (Ariz.), the ranking member on the House Natural Resources Committee, sent a letter to Zinke on Thursday urging him to rescind the Sept. 28 order that they worry will lead to gagging scientists….

Critics of the EPA rule call it the “secret science” rule and argue that it would exclude consideration of a number of important scientific studies whose evidence can’t be made fully public due to patient privacy concerns.

The lawmakers raised that concern in their letter to Zinke.

“Both policies threaten the suppression of scientific information not aligned with this administration’s agenda under the auspices of improving science based decision making,” the Democrats wrote….”

Interior Dept. implements new science policy | TheHill

“The Interior Department has implemented a new policy that it says is meant to boost transparency and integrity of the science that its agencies use to make decisions.

The policy, outlined in an order issued last week by Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, mandates that officials only use scientific studies or findings whose underlying data are publicly available and reproducible, with few exceptions.

Like a similar policy that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed, critics say the new “Promoting Open Science” policy is meant to restrict Interior’s ability to write regulations or make other decisions, by putting unnecessary restrictions on officials’ ability to use sound science….

Unlike the EPA’s policy, Interior’s new science order is not a proposed rule [subject to public comments], so it took effect immediately last week….”

Reverse EPA proposal based on trumped-up ‘secret science’ claim | TheHill

“Scott Pruit has been ousted as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, but what may be the most damaging aspect of his legacy still looms. EPA is still considering Pruitt’s proposed rule to limit what science the agency can take into account when deciding whether and how to protect the public from pollution. Along with Pruitt’s policy — still in effect — to disqualify some experts from service on scientific committees, the proposal would distort and limit EPA’s ability to take action against toxic chemicals, air and water pollutants, and just about any other danger to health under its purview….

ERTISEMENT

The language EPA has been using to promote its proposal is Orwellian. The agency frames its effort as advancing such core scientific values as transparency and peer review, while the rule would actually prevent the use of reputable scientific studies in determining environmental policy. It would also allow the EPA administrator to substitute his judgment for that of scientists by giving the agency head broad and arbitrary authority to permit the use of some studies while rejecting others.

The proposal has its origins in a trumped-up claim about the use of “secret science,” but the facts instead show why the EPA proposal itself is so dangerous….”

Pesticide Studies Won E.P.A.’s Trust, Until Trump’s Team Scorned ‘Secret Science’ – The New York Times

“The project, run by scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, and funded in part by the Environmental Protection Agency, is still going all these years later. Known as Chamacos, Spanish for “children,” it has linked pesticides sprayed on fruit and vegetable crops with respiratory complications, developmental disorders and lower I.Q.s among children of farm workers. State and federal regulators have cited its findings to help justify proposed restrictions on everything from insecticides to flame-retardant chemicals.

But the Trump administration wants to restrict how human studies like Chamacos are used in rule-making. A government proposal this year, called Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, could stop them from being used to justify regulating pesticides, lead and pollutants like soot, and undermine foundational research behind national air-quality rules. The E.P.A., which has funded these kinds of studies, is now labeling many of them “secret science.” …”

8 Ways Departing EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Suppressed Science – Truthdig

“In March, Pruitt proposed a new “science transparency policy.” Under the proposed rule, when the EPA designs pollution standards and rules, it would use only studies in which the underlying data is public. Pruitt said his policy would prevent the EPA from using “secret science” that cannot be tested by other researchers. But scientists say important findings could be excluded.

One example is research by Harvard University that linked fine particle pollution in U.S. cities with an increase in deaths from lung and heart diseases. The data for the 1993 study was key to the EPA’s setting of health standards that regulate air pollution. But the study’s underlying data is not public because researchers promised confidentiality to their subjects, 8,000 adults and 14,000 children in six cities….”

As “Climate Change” Fades from Government Sites, a Struggle to Archive Data | War on the EPA | FRONTLINE | PBS | Official Site

“When the Environmental Protection Agency’s website underwent an overhaul of climate change information on a Friday in late April, Toly Rinberg and Andrew Bergman, both Harvard Ph.D. students in applied physics, set off to figure out what was gone. Sitting in their shared Washington, D.C. apartment, they started a spreadsheet to track the changes. Suddenly missing, they noticed, were scores of pages dedicated to helping state and local governments deal with climate change. The EPA site where those pages lived, titled “Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Governments,” would disappear for three months, only to come back in July without the word “climate” in its title. The new website now focuses only on energy policy and resources, and is down to 175 pages from 380.”

Scott Pruitt and Anti-Science Activity at the EPA

“While it appears that exposure by the news media has prompted the administration to at least temporarily rescind its order to remove Web content on climate change, there is no guarantee that new orders will not emerge unless we have pledges from Mr. [Scott] Pruitt [Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency] to safeguard public access to scientific information about climate change and other issues. Indeed, several climate change–related Web pages and reports have been removed from the State Department website. Public servants should be free to state simple scientific facts. Americans have the right to see and benefit from taxpayer-funded research, and scientists have the right to share their findings openly and honestly, without political pressure, manipulation, or suppression. Political staff should never be in charge of deciding what scientific conclusions the public is allowed to see….”

EPA Scientists’ Work May Face ‘Case By Case’ Review By Trump Team, Official Says : The Two-Way : NPR

“Scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency who want to publish or present their scientific findings likely will need to have their work reviewed on a “case by case basis” before it can be disseminated, according to a spokesman for the agency’s transition team….”