Pentagon fires a warning shot against EPAs secret science rule

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Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Sean Reilly, E&E NewsAug. 28, 2018 , 2:00 PM Pentagon fires a warning shot against EPA’s ‘secret science’ rule Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwecenter_img Email Rudi Riet/Flickr (CC BY-SA) Originally published by E&E News Add the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to the ranks of those expressing concern about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) plans to restrict the use of scientific research in writing new regulations.”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,” Patricia Underwood, a senior Pentagon official in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment, wrote in recent comments on the EPA proposal. Because it’s “improbable” EPA would always be able to obtain such underlying data, Underwood added, “this should not impede the use of otherwise high-quality studies.”The proposed rule—”Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science”—would generally limit EPA to using studies for which the underlying research data “are publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent validation,” according to the text.In unveiling the plan this spring, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt touted it as a confidence booster in agency decisionmaking.Critics view that premise as a smokescreen for thwarting consideration of research that would help justify stricter regulations.After Pruitt resigned last month under White House pressure, an array of advocacy groups opposed to the proposed rule have urged acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to scrap it (Greenwire, 15 August).In an interview last month, Wheeler told E&E News he would take “a hard look” at the proposal but added that 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” (Greenwire, 13 July).The Defense Department, the largest federal agency when measured by its budget and the size of its civilian workforce, is also a prime sponsor of scientific research.Underwood’s comments were among more than a half-million that EPA received on the proposed rule by a 16 August deadline; they were added late last week to the online docket on the Regulations.gov website.Under the draft rule, the EPA administrator could grant exceptions to the data access requirements under specified conditions.Alongside a host of more technical concerns with the draft rule, Underwood urged EPA to allow for such exemptions when “underlying study data may be difficult to obtain from authors outside the agency.”She also suggested that EPA “grandfather” existing analyses unless those studies “are being updated or challenged.”Reprinted from Greenwire with permission from E&E News. 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