According to emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt is blocking the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from releasing the results of a sweeping study on toxic chemicals for purely political reasons.
The Department of Health reportedly shared the results of the study on toxic chemicals with the White House and the White House enlisted the help of Scott Pruitt to block the study's release.
“The public, media, and Congressional reaction to these numbers is going to be huge,” one unidentified White House aide said in an email forwarded on Jan. 30 by James Herz, a political appointee who oversees environmental issues at the OMB. The email added: “The impact to EPA and [the Defense Department] is going to be extremely painful. We (DoD and EPA) cannot seem to get ATSDR to realize the potential public relations nightmare this is going to be.”
More than three months later, the draft study remains unpublished, and the HHS unit says it has no scheduled date to release it for public comment.
In short, a scientific study conducted by the HHS Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is not being released to the public because it would be political damaging.
We don't know exactly what the study says, but it reportedly shows that the level of toxic chemicals previously considered to be "safe" by the EPA is actually not safe at all.
Pruitt's chief of staff told Politico the report hasn't been released yet because it hasn't been reviewed for continuity between agencies, but I think that's a weak way of saying they're still trying to figure out how they're going to whitewash the report.
Speaking of which:
Nancy Beck, deputy assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, suggested elevating the study to OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to coordinate an interagency review. Beck, who worked as a toxicologist in that office for 10 years, suggested it would be a "good neutral arbiter" of the dispute.
I would have considered the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to be a "good neutral arbiter" before Trump appointed Mick Mulvaney to oversee it.
Mulvaney is the man who cooks the books.
The good news is now that we know this report exists, and now that we know the White House doesn't want it released, every environmental group, the press, and possibly even local governments will be filing for its release.