(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—EPA finalized a rule today that hamstrings the agency’s ability to use all available sound science in its work, including setting and revising standards essential to restoring the Chesapeake Bay and its waterways.
The cynically titled “Strengthening Transparency in Pivotal Science Underlying Significant Regulatory Actions and Influential Scientific Information” rule instead places unnecessary and unworkable restrictions on the agency’s ability to use scientific research that does not make public its underlying data.
Many existing standards are based on studies, such as Harvard’s seminal 1993 Six Cities Study definitively linking premature deaths to air pollution, that protect participants’ private medical information.
This rule effectively bars EPA from using these and other peer-reviewed studies that represent the best available science precisely because they draw on this confidential data.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Vice President of Environmental Protection and Restoration Alison Prost released the following statement:
“This rule needlessly hampers EPA’s ability to use the best available science on the cynical pretense of promoting transparency. It will cripple the agency’s ability to set the water and air quality safeguards essential to ensuring public health and restoring the Chesapeake Bay and the local rivers and streams that feed into it.
“Sound science is the foundation of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint’s plan to put the Bay and its waterways on the path to restored health and productivity by 2025. We cannot save this national treasure or protect the health of the watershed’s 18 million residents when EPA adopts disingenuous rules that run counter to its mission.
“After four years of fighting the current administration’s anti-science agenda, CBF looks forward to working with the incoming Biden-Harris administration to return sound science to its rightful place as the basis for setting standards that protect human health and the environment.”