US EPA science advisers question ‘secret science’ rule on data transparency

By Jeff Tollefson

Science advisers to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) voted on 31 May to review a series of controversial rules that the agency has proposed over the past eight months. They include a plan that would limit the types of scientific research that the EPA could use to justify environmental regulations, and proposals to strike down limits on greenhouse-gas emissions.

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt framed the data rule as part of a push for transparency — and against ‘secret science’ — when he released it on 24 April. The policy would prevent the EPA from relying on studies that include any non-public data.

The decision by the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) to review the rule comes after earlier criticism by some of its members. In a 12 May memorandum, an SAB working group chastised the EPA for not submitting the proposal to the board for review.

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