EPA extends comment period on controversial science transparency rule.

May 31, 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending the public comment period for a controversial science “transparency” rule that environmentalists say limits facts from being involved in the agency’s rulemaking process according to a May 24, 2018 report from The Hill.

The comment period for the rule, Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, is being extended to August 17. Originally the comment period was only 30 days and was scheduled to close May 30. The agency also announced it will be holding a public hearing for the rule proposal on July 17.

While EPA contends that the rule will strengthen science by requiring all future regulations be based off scientific studies whose data is open to the public, many public health advocates and scientists argued the rule would actually end up limiting the amount of science used.

Under the measure, EPA will require the underlying data for all scientific studies used by the agency to formulate air and water regulations be publicly available. That sharply limits the number of studies available for consideration as much research relies on confidential health data from study subjects.

The new regulation means that some of the most important research of the past decades — for example, studies linking air pollution to premature deaths and measuring human exposure to pesticides — would not be available to policymakers if scientists were unwilling to break the confidentiality agreements they struck with study subjects in order to collect sensitive personal information.

Scientific groups have been critical of the short comment period offered on the rule which was first announced at the end of April. With the comment period extended into August, scientists will now have an additional two and half months to build a case against the proposal.

What this means to you
EPA is extending the public comment period to August 17th for a controversial science transparency rule that environmentalists say limits fact from being involved in the agency’s rulemaking process. The extension allows scientists more time to prepare a response.

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