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Trump EPA’s ‘terrifying’ plan to limit science used to keep our air clean and water safe

11/13/2019 6:12 am ET Sneha Konda
EPA moving to limit science used to make public health regulations

Becker1999 | Flickr

The Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump administration is preparing a proposal that would severely limit how science shapes public health.

A draft titled “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science,” and leaked to The New York Times, would, in fact, do the opposite. It “would require that scientists disclose all of their raw data, including confidential medical records, before the [EPA] could consider an academic study’s conclusions.”

In 2015, Former Republican Texas Congressman Lamar Smith unsuccessfully tried to push through a bill called the “Secret Science Reform Act” which aimed to do the same thing.  At the time, it went nowhere but now the EPA is trying to enact the same proposals through regulation.

If the new proposal is accepted, it would become difficult to make new regulations because often studies that demonstrate evidence between pollution and diseases are based on information gathered under confidentiality agreements. Not only would this proposal affect future regulations, but it would also apply to the already existing regs too. Paul Billings, senior vice president for advocacy at the American Lung Association told the New York Times that this could mean dirtier air and more premature deaths.

“This 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.”


This proposal comes weeks after the EPA, under Trump, gutted an Obama-era rule limiting ‘incredibly dangerous’ coal ash. According to an internal watchdog report, the EPA has also “exceeded” its goals in cutting back environmental regulations during Trump’s administration. Scientists are also claiming that “air pollution denial” in the U.S. is building up under Trump.


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