Trump’s EPA races clock on remaining environmental rollbacks

November 26, 2020

The Trump administration is scrambling to wrap up a slew of environmental rollbacks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office according to a November 13, 2020 report from The Hill.

Those efforts are raising concerns among environmentalists who have spent the past four years battling President Trump on issues like climate change and scientific independence.

At the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), top of the list is a proposal that has already generated roughly 600,000 negative comments. The EPA rule, which the agency bills as a transparency measure, could block consideration of studies that don’t make their underlying data publicly available, something likely to exclude landmark public health research when crafting agency policy.

Former EPA head Scott Pruitt, who led the agency from 2017-2018, called the rule a way to battle “secret science.” Critics counter it will block the agency from using studies that won’t release personal health information or confidential business data — common practices in studies the agency relies on when reviewing chemicals and assessing public health risks.

Another EPA rule the agency hopes to get out before Jan. 20 would change the cost-benefit analysis behind Clean Air Act regulations, making it tougher to account for some of the benefits of curbing air pollution. The rule change would also make it more difficult for future administrations to justify new air regulations.
Critics say the two proposals would systematically undermine the agency going forward.

Also in the hopper at the EPA are two rules that would freeze pollution standards for ozone (smog) and another that would freeze standards for PM 2.5 (soot), unusual moves for an agency that typically sets more ambitious targets when they are reconsidered every five years; a rule that changes the cost-benefit analysis behind Clean Air Act regulations

What this means to you
The Trump administration EPA is racing to wrap up four important environmental roll backs before January 20th. The four rollbacks are: a transparency measure that blocks consideration of studies that don’t make their underlying data publicly available; a rule that changes the cost-benefit analysis behind Clean Air Act regulations, a rule that freezes pollution standards for ozone (smog); and a rule that freezes pollution standards for PM 2.5 (soot).

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