The EPA is inserting industry-friendly data into public statements

Under the Trump administration, federal agencies have been busted multiple times for censoring climate data from government websites—see here, here, here, and here for a few recent instances. But even more insidious is evidence that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency now routinely inserts industry-friendly data into official public statements without career policy specialists reviewing them. According to Bloomberg BNA, “the team under Administrator Scott Pruitt is…marginalizing the agency’s program specialists to advance an agenda that prioritizes industry over environmental protections.” Take, for example, Pruitt’s recent decision to reconsider a rule restricting pollutants in the wastewater of power plants. The Obama-era EPA said the regulation would help curb discharges of toxins such as mercury and arsenic, which can cause cancer, lower IQ’s among children, and harm wildlife. It might cost the industry on average $480 million annually, but the estimated benefits come with a sum between $451 and $566 million. The EPA, of course, failed to mention those health and environmental benefits in its statement last month, instead choosing to highlight that compliance would cost industry as much as $1.2 billion per year on average—a much higher figure that “is misleading and departs from this standard practice of regulatory cost estimation,” said an official in the EPA’s Office of Water (in an e-mail obtained by Bloomberg BNA). The purpose of allowing EPA experts to review press materials to ensure accuracy has always been standard operating procedure…until now

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