The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reportedly planning to further restrict the use of scientific evidence in rule-making. The plans are inspired by efforts championed by one of Congress’ most notorious climate science deniers, House Science, Space, and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX).
The EPA’s initiative was discussed during a closed-door meeting on March 15 at the Heritage Foundation — a Washington, D.C. think tank known for promoting climate science denial and which was instrumental in influencing Trump’s transition team — E&E News reported Friday.
If adopted, the plan would require the EPA to rely only on scientific studies where the underlying data used by the researchers is made public. The impact would be to impose a dramatic burden on EPA officials effectively limiting their ability to introduce new protections for health and the environment.
It comes amidst an ongoing effort by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to limit the input from scientists in favor of industry.
The idea for the new plan comes from Smith who has for years been campaigning against what he believes are EPA rules based on “secret science.” He has repeatedly introduced bills in an effort to require the EPA to publicize all the data it uses for the basis of introducing new regulations.
Last March, the House passed Smith’s latest legislative effort — known as the HONEST Act — that would implement the rule at the EPA requiring regulations be based on data that is public and reproducible. The bill has not gone anywhere since, however. Smith has also tried to push the initiative under the 2019 proposed budget.
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