As recently reported in a number of news outlets, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt has proposed a rule within the EPA that would require the Agency to use research that is publicly available in promulgating new rules alleged to be “scientifically-based.” This could be an important change to every company over which EPA has permitting or enforcement authority.
Pruitt’s proposal would require that the EPA ensure that the data which justifies the basis for any regulation are available in form and content to allow independent analysis and validation, and require that the scientific basis for an EPA standard includes underlying assumptions made in the data gathering and analysis process. The proposal would also apply these new requirements to those studies and analyses which purport to calculate the costs and benefits of a proposed standard, as well as for models used by EPA to determine health impacts which drive proposed standards.
Pruitt wants his proposal to be codified in a way that will require such transparency and independent data verification to last well-beyond the current administration. Pruitt states that the EPA’s current method of analyzing and using scientific data is simply “wrong-headed.” Not surprisingly, industry groups hailed this move as a better way for EPA to conduct its business, while environmental and public health groups criticized this as an arbitrary and capricious move.