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New York Times: Pruitt's EPA Secrecy Is 'Extraordinary'-but EPA Secrecy Under Obama?

Irwin M. Stelzer

The New York Times is upset with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. It seems that under the cloak of “rampant secrecy” has set out to “weaken an agency once known for transparency.”

Agency lifers complain that Pruitt, according to the Times, “is taking extraordinary measures to conceal his actions.” Paranoia is rampant among the 15,000 staffers, not to mention among the Pruitt team. As the old saying goes, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean no one is out to get you. The staff is right to worry: Its expansive regulatory agenda is Pruitt’s target. And the administrator’s team is also right to worry: they are the targets of a staff that views them as a hostile army sent by an illegitimate president to undo the works of their lifetimes.

But for the Times to suddenly worry about Pruitt’s lack of “transparency” is a bit rich.

Under President Obama, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy refused to provide the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee with data underlying the EPA’s Clean Air Act regulations, citing privacy concerns. She even held her ground in the face of a report by the National Academy of Sciences saying that “Nothing in the past suggests that increasing access to data without damage to privacy and confidentiality rights is beyond scientific reach.”

It seems that an Obama administrator’s protection of privacy is a Trump administrator’s rampant secrecy. At least to the New York Times.

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