EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a proposed rule to ensure that the regulatory science underlying agency actions is fully transparent, and that underlying scientific information is publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent validation.
“The era of secret science at EPA is coming to an end,” said Pruitt. “The ability to test, authenticate, and reproduce scientific findings is vital for the integrity of rulemaking process. Americans deserve to assess the legitimacy of the science underpinning EPA decisions that may impact their lives.”
This proposed rule is in line with the scientific community’s moves toward increased data sharing to address the “replication crisis”—a growing recognition that a significant proportion of published research may not be reproducible. The proposal is consistent with data access requirements for major scientific journals like Science, Nature, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences as well as recommendations from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Science for Policy Project and the Administrative Conference of the United States’ Science in the Administrative Process Project.
The proposed rule builds upon President Trump’s executive orders on regulatory reform:
- Executive Order 13777, issued in March 2017, provides that regulatory reform efforts shall attempt to identify “those regulations that rely in whole or in part on data, information, or methods that are not publicly available or that are insufficiently transparent to meet the standard of reproducibility.”
- Executive Order 13783, also issued in March 2017, provides that “It is the policy of the United States that necessary and appropriate environmental regulations comply with the law, are of greater benefit than cost, when permissible, achieve environmental improvements for the American people, and are developed through transparent processes that employ the best available peer-reviewed science and economics.”
“Administrator Pruitt’s announcement ensures that data will be secret no more,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas. “For too long, the EPA has issued rules and regulations based on data that has been withheld from the American people. It’s likely that in the past, the data did not justify all regulations.”
“Sound, reliable science is vital to helping us make important policy decisions that impact the health of American families and their livelihoods,” said Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D. “Inserting new levels of transparency in the EPA rulemaking process will help make the agency more accountable to the American people and help everyone understand the impact of EPA’s decisions. Today’s directive is a significant step toward making sure these decisions are not made behind closed doors with information accessible only to those writing the regulations, but rather in the full view of those who will be affected.”
Source: U.S. EPA