John Cruden Quoted in Washington Examiner on EPA Compliance and Enforcement

Principal John Cruden (Washington, DC) was quoted in a November 12 article in the Washington Examiner titled "Wheeler Set to Go Even Further than Pruitt in Restricting Use of Science." The article focuses on proposed changes to the types of sciences that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can use in policymaking.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler plans to expand upon the proposal put forward by the previous EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, which was based on a "science transparency" rule. Pruitt's proposal would have barred the EPA from using certain types of science in policymaking if the data isn't made publicly available. Wheeler's expanded proposal would apply those restrictions to nearly all science the agency uses. Such a proposal, according to the Washington Examiner, would be a victory for those who have long complained that the science the EPA relies upon to set pollution limits isn't available to be replicated or reanalyzed.

Some environmentalists are reportedly concerned that the proposal's expanded release would be detrimental to EPA's science. The EPA claims, however, that increased transparency will only strengthen its science and policy, stating in a press release that "by requiring transparency, scientists will be required to publish hypothesis and experimental data for other scientists to review and discuss, requiring the science to withstand skepticism and peer review."

By contrast, John, who served as Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice's Energy and Natural Resources Division during the Obama administration, is not concerned that the EPA has shifted some of its national enforcement priorities under Wheeler's leadership. He noted that at the end of the day, the EPA's enforcement report card is "whether the environment is improving." One way to quickly grade the agency is to see whether its leadership is directing dollars and staff back to its stated enforcement policies, according to John, who urged agency enforcement officials to offer periodic updates on progress so the public can judge whether the EPA is following through.

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