EPA Rule on Scientific Research Takes Effect


A controversial rule that would allow the EPA to reject research in which raw data was not disclosed took effect on January 7th as a heritage of the outgoing Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, previously a coal lobbyist.


Promoted as ‘progress in transparency’, the Rule would have enabled EPA to selectively discount and ignore studies involving human populations in which confidentiality of data was necessary.  Of specific concern is extensive research on the level of exposure to pollutants that may result in clinical or other health effects.  By stripping away confidentiality, recruiting of participants for future epidemiologic studies would be hampered.  The principal objective of the Rule was to provide a justification for EPA administrators to enjoin their scientists from considering published peer-reviewed and credible human research  in decisions concerning water and air pollution from chemical plants.


EPA Administrator Matthew Wheeler

Quoted in Science, Rep Paul Tonko (D-NY) stated the need to “reverse corrupt rule making and restore the principles of science and public health at the EPA” The Rule may be short-lived as it is possible to nullify rules in accordance with the Congressional Review Act requiring a simple majority in the House and Senate and approval by the President, a future reality.