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EPA Disclosure Requirement Opposed by Scientists

11/27/2019

The Administration will introduce a proposal entitled Strengthening Transparency and Regulatory Science that would have the effect of suppressing valid scientific research in developing policy and regulations. The proposal would require that scientists disclose all of their raw data including confidential medical records before an academic study could be considered.

Scientists and physicians in research maintain that the proposed rule would reduce the contribution of scientific studies to developing policy. The EPA justifies the decision on the basis of “transparency”. Andrew Wheeler, Administrator of the EPA noted “We are committed to the highest quality science” In testimony before a Congressional committee in September Wheeler stated “Good science is science that can be replicated and independently validated, science that can hold up to scrutiny. That is why we are moving forward to ensure that the science supporting Agency decisions is transparent and available for evaluation by the public and stakeholders.”

The measure to be adopted by EPA is a thinly veiled attempt to exclude politically embarrassing studies from consideration in reviewing clean air and water rule making. The EPA is well aware that disclosing raw data would be contrary to maintaining confidentiality. This measure if adopted would be yet another obstacle in denying science to establish policy and regulations.

The initiative by the EPA is in some respects analogous to the suppression of politically unpalatable results of studies conducted by scientists affiliated to the USDA or funded by the Department that quantify the deleterious effects of climate change.

Ignoring scientific findings in the interest of political expediency is irrational and does not alter reality. Inappropriate decisions made by regulatory agencies based on deliberate suppression of scientific facts will only exacerbate the outcomes of environmental degradation to achieve short-term parochial advantages.