EPA rule clears traditional opaqueness in science justifying regulatory actions

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; CP staff

A new rule establishes that when promulgating significant regulatory actions or developing influential scientific information, the Environmental Protection Agency will give greater consideration to studies where the underlying dose-response data are available in a manner sufficient for independent validation. The rule does not require the release of personally identifiable information or confidential business information nor does it require EPA to collect, store, or publicly disseminate any such data underlying pivotal science. 

“I fundamentally believe that the American public has a right to know about EPA’s regulations and their scientific underpinnings,” says Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “No one should be afraid of being transparent, especially if individual privacy is protected. Increased transparency has strengthened the Agency’s credibility with the public in the past, and I intend for this rule to do the same as we move forward.”

The rule establishes requirements for the independent peer review of pivotal science, and applies only to future significant regulatory actions and influential scientific information.

When proposing major regulatory action, EPA is required to clearly identify and make publicly available the scientific justification. The rule’s transparency provisions build upon federal government and scientific community data sharing efforts.

“Regulatory actions are often costly for American families and hamper small businesses with excessive red tape,” observes U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (KY-01). “Agencies like the EPA must use public and credible data when issuing any substantial regulatory decisions so Americans can decide if the regulation is justified. Clearly identifying scientific studies and making those conclusions publicly available will ensure any future regulatory action by the EPA comes with much needed transparency.”

 “This final rule allows for underlying data to be securely validated and evaluated by subject matter experts,” adds Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Ranking Member Frank Lucas (OK-03). “Administrator Wheeler and the EPA did extensive work developing this over the past two years, taking into consideration thousands of public comments. The final product takes the first steps towards greater trust and accountability in EPA’s decision making that impacts all Americans.”

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