“It’s astounding that the EPA science adviser’s office was left completely out of the loop during the development of a major science policy proposal,” Michael Halpern, deputy director of UCS’s center for science and democracy, told the Post. “Crafting any significant proposal behind closed doors without even bothering to notify career scientific staff suggests that it’s much more about politics than it is about science.”

The proposed rule is similar to a measure before Congress called the HONEST Act, which UCS’s Andrew Rosenberg warned in March “is a Trojan-horse transparency bill that, among other things, would make it harder for the EPA to use public health studies to finalize science-based public health protections.” The measures aim to block the agency from relying on private-sector studies that are based on epidemiological data which, due to patient or proprietary information, must remain confidential.

Published in the Federal Register on April 30, the comment period for Pruitt’s so-called Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science rule was extended through mid-August. An agency spokesperson told the Post it has garnered more than 590,000 comments. The newspaper noted that at least 69 prominent scientific, medical, and academic groups have come out against it.

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