Speed Reads

bad news for science

Scott Pruitt wants to limit scientific research used by the EPA

On Tuesday, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed a rule that would restrict the scientific research used by the agency to make regulatory decisions.

Under the proposed rule, only studies where the data is publicly available could be used, something conservatives have long wanted. "The science that we use is going to be transparent," Pruitt said. "It's going to be reproducible." Scientists and public health experts are concerned because long-standing studies on pollution and pesticides often rely on confidential personal and medical data, and they'll likely struggle to find participants if they know their information will be made public.

"The best studies follow individuals under time, so that you can control all the factors except for the ones you're measuring," former EPA head Gina McCarthy told The Washington Post. "But it means following people's personal history, their medical history. And nobody would want somebody to expose all of their private information." There will be a 30-day comment period, and if the rule goes through, it's expected to be challenged in court.