Published On: Tue, Aug 28th, 2018

Pentagon Slams EPA's Science Proposal

The Pentagon is panning an EPA plan to restrict the use of scientific research in writing new regulations, Greenwire reported Tuesday.

In comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal, Patricia Underwood of the Department of Defense’s office of energy, installations and environment wrote that “while we agree that public access to information is very important, we do not believe that failure of the agency to obtain a publication's underlying data from an author external to the agency should negate its use.”

She argued it’s "improbable" the agency would always be able to obtain such underlying data, but that “this should not impede the use of otherwise high-quality studies.”

The proposed rule would generally limit the EPA to using studies for which the underlying research data "are publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent validation,” Greenwire reported.

In unveiling the plan last spring, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt hailed it as a confidence booster in agency decision-making — and conservatives and many regulated industries have supported the plan for proposing to shine a much-needed light on EPA activities, The Hill reported.

But health advocates, environmental groups and some scientists criticized the proposal as a veiled attempt to handicap the EPA’s regulatory authority by prohibiting the use of major scientific findings in fields like epidemiology, The Hill noted.

In an interview with the outlet, acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said he’d take "a hard look" at it though he believed “the more information we put out to the public as far as what we're basing our regulations on, the better our regulations will be.”

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Pentagon Slams EPA's Science Proposal