EPA Transparency Proposal May Limit What Agency Can Consider in Rulemakings

UPDATED 05.25.2018 EPA has extended the deadline for comments to August 16.

On April 30, EPA issued a proposed rule, Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, “to increase transparency in the preparation, identification, and use of science in policymaking.”  With this proposal, EPA is targeting dose response data and models that underlie “pivotal regulatory science”; that is, “the specific scientific studies or analyses that drive the requirements and/or quantitative analysis of EPA final significant regulatory decisions.”  EPA seeks to make more of this underlying data and models available to the public when it is used as a basis for rulemakings.  There has been some concern that the rule, if finalized, would effectively limit what EPA could consider in covered rulemakings, since some studies contain information restricted for personal privacy or confidential business reasons that may be difficult to effectively make public.

Several commenters, including the Public Library of Science and the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, have asked for an extension of the comment period and public hearings held around the country on the proposal.  The attorneys general of California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New York, and Pennsylvania sent a letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt on May 7 asking EPA to withdraw the proposed rule and consult with the National Academy of Sciences and other independent science organizations before proceeding further.  In lieu of withdrawal, the attorneys general ask for a comment period of at least 150 days, and they challenge the current, thirty-day comment period as “woefully insufficient.”  The attorneys general allege that the proposal is vague but could have a far-reaching impact on EPA’s mission.

Comments are currently due by May 30, 2018, and can be submitted in a number of ways, including online.

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