In DepthREGULATORY SCIENCE

Critics say EPA's ‘transparency’ rules would favor industry

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Science  01 May 2020:
Vol. 368, Issue 6490, pp. 458
DOI: 10.1126/science.368.6490.458

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Summary

Disagreement over what constitutes a public document is the latest battleground in a long war over a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal to change the kinds of studies and data the agency will consider as it shapes its regulations. The proposal, which EPA says is meant to promote transparency and "sound science," would generally bar the agency from using data that are not publicly available. Critics already worry that the policy would allow EPA to ignore studies that have been key to developing tighter health and safety rules, such as air pollution standards, but rest on difficult-to-release information, such as confidential patient records. Now, they have a new worry: EPA has proposed a definition of "publicly available" that could allow the agency to exclude those studies but allow it to continue using other studies—often from industry—even if their data are effectively hidden. The deadline to submit comments is 18 May.

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