Senators File Formal Comment on EPA Science Rule
‘The proposed rule is just the latest item on industry’s wish list’
Washington, DC – Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tom Carper (D-DE), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) have submitted a comment to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the agency’s proposal to exclude important scientific studies from its rulemaking process. The rule would cast aside unbiased, rigorous, peer-reviewed research critical to informing decisions affecting Americans’ health and environment, the senators write. Pointing to the troubling history of industry-funded science designed to mask the effects of products like tobacco and fossil fuels and the decades-old campaign by the fossil fuel industry to capture and control the EPA, the senators argue that the proposed rule is unlawful.
“Fossil fuel companies, along with the tobacco industry, have for decades sought to limit the types of scientific studies available for use in rulemaking to avoid regulation of their products,” the senators write. “After years of funding a network of front groups to lead this attack on regulations supported by peer reviewed science, the fossil fuel industry installed loyalists throughout EPA, including former Administrator Scott Pruitt and current Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. Now fully captured by the industries it regulates, EPA has effectively delegated its regulatory authority to those interests. The proposed rule is just the latest item on industry’s wish list.”
The Trump administration’s proposal would apply new “transparency” standards to block medical studies, clinical reports, and other rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific research based on health-related data that cannot be made public due to patient privacy concerns. This would limit the EPA’s use of independent science in ways that could benefit industries that the EPA regulates.
Earlier this year, Whitehouse and Senate colleagues joined state attorneys general, public health organizations like the American Lung Association and American Medical Association, environmental groups, and others in calling for an extension of the initial 30-day public comment period, an extraordinarily short time for a rule of such complexity and far-reaching implications for public health and the environment.
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