President Trump shakes hands with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt after speaking about the U.S. role in the Paris climate change accord in the Rose Garden of the White House in June 2017. (AP)

Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, just signed a proposed rule that sounds like it is expanding transparency in research but actually will limit the scientific research that can be considered when the EPA writes regulations and could weaken protections Americans now have from air pollution, toxic chemicals and other health risks.

In the letter, 985 scientists from around the United States — including former EPA scientists — urged Pruitt not to go through with this restriction, and they explain the damage that it could do to the health of Americans. The letter was made public by the Union for Concerned Scientists.

“There are ways to improve transparency in the decision-making process, but restricting the use of science would improve neither transparency nor the quality of EPA decision-making,” they wrote. “If fully implemented, this proposal would greatly weaken EPA’s ability to comprehensively consider the scientific evidence across the full array of health studies.”

The move by Pruitt, which has been sought by conservatives and industries including coal and fossil fuels, is the latest in his efforts to reverse years of EPA protections of the environment and underscores the Trump administration’s continuing war on science.

The administration has appointed people without scientific credentials to important positions and cut funding for environmental and scientific programs.  It has also sought to restrict what science-based agencies within the government can say publicly and has told some employees not to use phrases such as “climate change.” Trump has said that he believes human-caused climate change is a hoax.

Read the letter, which is just one of a number of efforts by scientists to fight Pruitt on this: