The new proposal is “based upon speculation about what the courts will decide, rather than really having much scientific substance,” he said.
Environmentalists welcomed the draft reports.
“They are saying that the Trump proposal is entirely untethered from the scientific evidence, and that the scientific record for the rule that the administration is trying to replace remains unrefuted and very solid,” said Jon Devine, an expert in water policy with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group. “And any self-respecting scientist is going to say that.”
Ms. Schiermeyer, the E.P.A. spokeswoman, wrote that despite the scientific board’s findings on the impact of the water rule, the administration was bound by the letter of the law, rather than science. “The definition of ‘waters of the United States’ may be informed by science, but science cannot dictate where to draw the line between federal and state or tribal waters, as those are legal distinctions established within the overall framework and construct of the Clean Water Act,” she wrote.
In its review of a proposed effort to limit the science used to write public health rules, the Science Advisory Board criticized the agency, saying E.P.A. “has not fully identified the problem to be addressed” by the new rule.
Under the new effort, the E.P.A. plans to require that scientists disclose all of their raw data, including confidential medical records, before the agency could consider an academic study’s conclusions. E.P.A. officials called the plan a step toward transparency and said the disclosure of raw data would allow conclusions to be verified independently.
But, the advisory board warned, some requirements of the proposal “may not add transparency, and even may make some kinds of research more difficult.”
Critics including scientific and medical groups have said the rule would make it more difficult to enact new clean air and water rules because many studies detailing the links between pollution and disease rely on personal health information gathered under confidentiality agreements.