A federal judge has ruled that the EPA and its first-in-charge Scott Pruitt must provide the research he cites that contradicts large amounts of science-based research claiming humans are warming the planet at an unprecedented pace through the burning of fossil fuels.
According to Scientific American, the EPA boss has “so far resisted attempts to show the science backing up his claims. His critics say such evidence doesn’t exist, even as Pruitt has called for greater science transparency at the agency.”
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a Freedom of Information Act request, seeking access to the studies Pruitt referenced during a March 2017 interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” During his appearance, he stated that he would not agree that carbon dioxide and climate change should not be considered “a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.”
The EPA has refused to turn over any such evidence so PEER sued the agency.
On Tuesday, a U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Columbia issued a memo saying that the EPA must comply with PEER’s request by July 2, offering any EPA documents that helped Pruitt come to the conclusion that he shared on CNBC last year. If certain documents cannot be provided, an explanation for their absence must be provided by July 11.
Judge Beryl A. Howell has accused the EPA of providing unacceptable excuses as a means to refuse PEER’s request and called it “particularly troubling” that the EPA argued that evidence for a factual statement by the administrator can be unknowable.
“EPA’s strained attempt to raise an epistemological smokescreen will not work here to evade its obligations under the FOIA,” Judge Howell wrote.