Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

EPA Proposal to Restrict Science Panders to Polluters

Politics
EPA scientists survey aquatic life in Newport, Oregon. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to significantly limit the use of science in agency rulemaking around public health, The New York Times reports.


A draft of the proposed science transparency rule obtained by the Times instructs that scientists disclose all raw data involved in their studies before the agency would consider their conclusions. The new standards would also apply retroactively to existing regulations, and expands the original proposal to apply to all studies underpinning environmental protections. Many clean air, water and other public health rules are justified by studies using personal health data gathered under confidentiality agreements, so the datasets by law can never been made public. The proposal, which was originally conceived as a means to prevent regulations on second-hand smoking, "means the EPA can justify rolling back rules or failing to update rules based on the best information to protect public health and the environment, which means more dirty air and more premature deaths," Paul Billings of the American Lung Association told the Times.

As reported by The Hill:

Critics say that if implemented, the changes could be devastating to public heath.
"Let's call this what it is: an excuse to abandon clean air, clean water, and chemical safety rules. This new restriction on science would upend the way we protect communities from pollution and other health threats," said Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
"It doesn't just restrict the science that EPA can use to institute new rules — it works retroactively, allowing political appointees at the agency to topple standards that have worked for decades to deliver clean air and clean water."

For a deeper dive:

New York Times, The Hill

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The CDC has emphasized that washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Guido Mieth / Moment / Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control has emphasized that washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective measures we can take in preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, millions of Americans in some of the most vulnerable communities face the prospect of having their water shut off during the lockdowns, according to The Guardian.

Read More Show Less
A California newt (Taricha torosa) from Napa County, California, USA. Connor Long / CC BY-SA 3.0

Aerial photos of the Sierra Nevada — the long mountain range stretching down the spine of California — showed rust-colored swathes following the state's record-breaking five-year drought that ended in 2016. The 100 million dead trees were one of the most visible examples of the ecological toll the drought had wrought.

Now, a few years later, we're starting to learn about how smaller, less noticeable species were affected.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Disinfectants and cleaners claiming to sanitize against the novel coronavirus have started to flood the market.
Natthawat / Moment / Getty Images

Disinfectants and cleaners claiming to sanitize against the novel coronavirus have started to flood the market, raising concerns for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which threatened legal recourse against retailers selling unregistered products, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
A customer packs groceries in reusable bags at a NYC supermarket on March 1, 2020. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

The global coronavirus pandemic has thrown our daily routine into disarray. Billions are housebound, social contact is off-limits and an invisible virus makes up look at the outside world with suspicion. No surprise, then, that sustainability and the climate movement aren't exactly a priority for many these days.

Read More Show Less
Ingredients are displayed for the Old School Pinto Beans from the Decolonize Your Diet cookbook by Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel. Melissa Renwick / Toronto Star via Getty Images

By Molly Matthews Multedo

Livestock farming contributes to global warming, so eating less meat can be better for the climate.

Read More Show Less