Critics said the policy shift is created to restrict the agency from citing peer-reviewed public-health studies that use patient medical records that must be kept confidential under patient privacy laws.
Pruitt said the change, long sought by chemical manufacturers and fossil fuel companies, would increase transparency in the agency's decision-making by requiring all underlying data used in scientific studies to be made publicly available.
The most effective way Pruitt can hollow out the EPA, besides gutting its staff, is to attack the heart of how the agency uses and studies science-the bedrock of the EPA's work.
Reported Forbes: "Nearly 1,000 scientists signed and sent a letter to Scott Pruitt urging him not to move forward ... they wrote, 'There are ways to improve transparency in the decisionmaking process, but restricting the use of science would improve neither transparency nor the quality of EPA decisionmaking'".
Former EPA administrator Gina Mc Carthy, who now is at the Center for Climate, Health and Global Environment at Harvard, said the best studies "follow individuals over time", but nobody will participate if their "private information" is revealed.
Such studies include the Harvard School of Public Health's landmark Six Cities study of 1993, which established links between death rates and dirty air in major US cities.
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The report didn't address the fact that any study scientists want the government to use could be opened to the public.
Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of SC, who is chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has separately asked him and four other top aides to submit to a "transcribed interview" with investigators about the security detail and Mr. Perrotta's firm.
EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said the hearings were an opportunity to reiterate Pruitt's accomplishments, including repeal of President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States rule, "providing regulatory certainty, and declaring a war on lead - all while returning to Reagan-era staffing levels".
"Badly flawed research on the human health effects of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) conducted during the 1980s and 1990s was used to justify regulations forcing thousands of corporations and hundreds of coal-powered electricity generation plants to close", he said. "I can't say anything any clearer than that", Pruitt said in the interview that aired earlier this month. "However, the other things certainly are something that we're monitoring and looking at, and I'll keep you posted". And he's taken aim at science in other ways, as he highlighted in Tuesday's speech, such as changing the composition of the agency's independent science advisory boards. He said the policy is an attempt by people who aren't interested in using science to find the truth "to raise doubts about what at this stage is very clearly established and well-reviewed science". They argue that if the data can't be published, then the rules should not be adopted.
Pruitt is likely to face sharp questions about his spending decisions, and his answers could prove crucial in determining whether he stays atop EPA, lawmakers say.
Pruitt cited two closed access journals - Science and Nature - as positive examples of transparency. "It is long overdue that the EPA should make such data and collection methods available for public review and analysis", said Tim Huelskamp, the president of the institute.