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Policy & Advocacy

Environmental Protection Agency Rule on ‘Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science’

Open Access   ·   Open Data

On April 30, 2018, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a call for public comments on a controversial new rule on “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science.”  This has been published in the Federal Register as Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OA-2018-025. The current deadline for submitting comments is May 30, 2018.

On May 1, SPARC submitted a letter to the EPA seeking an extension of the comment period from its current 30 days to 90 days to provide stakeholders with adequate time to prepare their responses. The letter can be seen here.

On May 25, the EPA announced it would extend the public comment period to August 16 and host one public hearing on the issue which took place on July 17.

SPARC has serious concerns with this proposed rule and calls for it to be rescinded in the detailed response submitted on July 18, 2018. The rule claims to support Open Research Data, however, it calls for the EPA to only use studies whose underlying data is openly available for the purpose of replicating/validating the studies’ conclusions. Basing important policymaking decisions off of studies where the underlying data must be publicly accessible deliberately excludes the use of a wide swath of important data sets – including key longitudinal studies that underpin current clean air and water regulations. SPARC calls for the proposed rule to be rescinded.

The proposed rule is rife with other problems. Our colleagues at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) have produced a blog which contains additional details.

On October 17, Acting EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, announced that the EPA would put on hold on moving forward with this controversial rule for the time being. SPARC will continue to keep an eye on this rule, and we’re prepared to act again should it appear to regaining any traction.

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