Obama EPA Officials Protest Scott Pruitt’s ‘Secret Science’ Reforms. Here’s Why They’re Wrong.

Should the public be allowed to know how bureaucrats develop policies that have major impacts on our lives? Or should we simply be left in the dark?

That seems like a silly question, right? Hopefully, the answer is obvious.

For some though—including Gina McCarthy, a former Environmental Protection Agency administrator from the Obama administration—transparency seems to be overrated.

Recently, current EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that his agency would no longer allow the use of secret science in developing federal regulations. Specifically, the agency will only use scientific studies to develop regulations when the data and methodology for those studies are made accessible to the public.

This also means the EPA will only fund studies that make this critical information available to the public.

Sounds good—so what’s the problem?

According to McCarthy and her former EPA colleague Janet McCabe, there are a lot of problems. In a recent New York Times op-ed, the two former EPA officials voiced their objections to Pruitt’s attempt to promote open government and public participation in rule-making.

Here are four of their objections, and why they’re wrong.

Claim 1: Pruitt “alone will decide what is and isn’t acceptable science for the agency to use when developing policies that affect your health and the environment.”

Response: Actually, the new EPA policy specifically ensures that everyone, including the public and other scientists, can have input on what is acceptable science. Their real problem is that it does exactly the opposite of what some critics would like, which is to give bureaucrats complete authority over what counts as sound science.

Claim 2: “Peer review ensures that the analytic methodologies underlying studies funded by the agency are sound.”

Response: There’s no way for the public to know whether a specific peer review process has been effective and properly addressed potential problems. Their argument completely ignores the fact that these studies are not being used by the EPA so that academics can discuss abstract and unimportant concepts with each other while pondering their navels. These studies are being used as the basis for public policies that have serious real-world impacts on the lives of Americans.

Read more of this The Daily Signal op-ed by Daren Bakst by clicking here.

Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/Newscom