Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) responded to an announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it will extend the comment period and hold a public hearing for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s proposed rule to shrink dramatically the body of scientific knowledge the agency can use in crafting public health and environmental protections. Whitehouse led a group of 20 Senators in requesting the comment period be extended.
“An all-out attack on this type of legitimate peer-reviewed science warrants plenty of public scrutiny,” Whitehouse said. “I’m glad to see the EPA heed our request, but let’s remember that this proposal should never have been put forward. Now I hope Scott Pruitt decides to listen to the American people and not his fossil fuel overlords.”
Pruitt’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 and benefit industries that the EPA regulates. Whitehouse and his 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 extraordinarily short 30-day public comment period for a rule of such complexity and far-reaching implications for public health and the environment.
Whitehouse and his colleagues’ letter to Pruitt is available here.