US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has signed a proposed rule to require that the science the agency uses to underpin its regulatory decisions is "fully transparent".
The move comes despite outcry in the scientific community and questions even from inside the agency about treatment of confidential information.
The start of the formal rulemaking process follows reports
last month that the EPA would be rolling out a policy that would bar it from making regulatory decisions using studies that are not publicly available.
An agency press release confirms that the proposed rule is based on the concept that regulations should not "rely in whole or in part on data, information or methods that are not publicly available or that are insufficiently transparent to meet the standard of reproducibility". And, it says, they should be "developed through transparent processes that employ the best available peer-reviewed science".
Regulations should not 'rely in whole or in part on data, information or methods that are not publicly available or that are insufficiently transparent to meet the standard of reproducibility', the EPA
"The ability to test, authenticate, and reproduce scientific findings is vital for the integrity of the rulemaking process," Mr Pruitt said. "The era of secret science at EPA is coming to an end."
Initial news of the new policy sent shockwaves through the environmental and consumer advocacy community. Among other concerns, groups feared that the new approach could threaten the effectiveness of TSCA.
And according to emails recently released under an NGO's public records request, those concerns have been voiced even within the agency – including by former American Chemistry Council staffer Nancy Beck.
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