In his latest provocation, the EPA Chief, Scott Pruitt, aborted an on-going process by his agency to ban a widely-used but potentially harmful pesticide known as chlorpyrifos (link to New York Times article).
In my previous blog on his climate-change statement, I pointed out that people who attack data-driven conclusions for its "imprecision" will ignore any uncertainty if they want something to happen:
However, when it comes to such decisions [i.e. risky business investment decisions], the same decision-makers who fear the scourge of imprecision suddenly re-make themselves as "betting men."
Little did I know that it took just a week for Mr. Pruitt to prove me right.
The Times excerpted a part of the pesticide statement by Mr. Pruitt, as follows:
We need to provide regulatory certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos, while still protecting human health and the environment... By reversing the previous administration’s steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making — rather than predetermined results.
What is Mr. Pruitt saying?
Since he is not ordering more studies to dissipate the "imprecision," Mr. Pruitt knows something we don't. He has access to this "sound science" which proves that chlorpyrifos does not harm humans - with 100% precision. Obviously, he knows more than the scientists at his agency, who are concerned about its potential harm.
In addition, the disagreement between his agency's science and the "sound science" of unknown origin does not concern him at all. Didn't he just say that he does not believe in climate-change science because "there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact"?
Mr. Pruitt claims he is providing "regulatory certainty." That phrase sounds more complicated than it is. When an agency makes a regulation, it is providing regulatory certainty, isn't it? Whether the regulation is to ban or not to ban a substance, it is still providing regulatory certainty.