EPA revises plan to restrict use of environmental research


Photo of EPA Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler from The White House, flickr

Tyler Chalfant | March 6th, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced earlier this week that it had revised a proposal giving preference to studies in which all data is publicly available. Scientists have warned that this proposal could allow the federal government to dismiss or downplay important environmental research.

The revised proposal takes a step back from completely excluding any research that doesn’t release its raw data. This includes medical information that is protected by privacy laws or confidentiality agreements, as was a study that definitively linked air pollution to premature deaths. 

Critics have said this measure is one of the government’s most far-reaching restrictions on science, and that the Trump administration’s real goal is to undermine the science behind existing regulations. Others warned that it took scientific decision-making out of the hands of scientists.

Andrew R. Wheeler, the current administrator of the EPA, said that the proposal is intended to bring greater transparency to government research, to ensure that studies “are available for transparent review by qualified scientists.”

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