Putting an End to Secret Science Pivotal to Restoring Trust in Government

EPA can finally put an end to history of cherry-picking research to support a predetermined, political outcome

WASHINGTON DC (January 5, 2021) – The American Energy Alliance (AEA), the country’s premier pro-consumer, pro-taxpayer, and free-market energy organization, threw its support behind the announcement from EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler limiting “secret science” in the agency’s public policy making process made common by the Obama administration. 

The new rule establishes how the EPA will consider studies relying on dose-response data, which form the basis for many of its significant regulatory actions and influential scientific information. Dose-response approaches are common when the agency is attempting to determine “safe” or “hazardous” settings or levels, especially as it relates to dosages for drugs, pollutants, foods, or other substances connected to human or environmental exposure. EPA’s new rule, Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, focuses primarily on giving greater consideration to studies where the underlying dose-response data are available in a manner sufficient for independent validation. For too long, public review of the data supporting EPA’s key findings of what’s deemed safe, and what’s hazardous, has been limited by a too-common habit of keeping the underlying data private, even from the EPA itself. The rule seeks to end default, secretive practices and instead encourage greater transparency.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler outlined the reasoning of this final rule in an Op-Ed  published in the Wall Street Journal yesterday noting, “The work of the Environmental Protection Agency—to protect human health and the environment—shouldn’t be exempt from public scrutiny. This is why we are promulgating a rule to make the agency’s scientific processes more transparent. Too often Congress shirks its responsibility and defers important decisions to regulatory agencies. These regulators then invoke science to justify their actions, often without letting the public study the underlying data. Part of transparency is making sure the public knows what the agency bases its decisions on.”   

Thomas Pyle, President of the American Energy Alliance, issued the following statement supporting the Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science rule:

“It is difficult to disagree with Administrator Wheeler’s sentiment that transparency knows no political ideology. As noted in the release of this rule, no individual’s private information will be released, citing a process that can verify results with independent review and still protect confidential and personal information striking an important balance between transparency and privacy when it comes to our health and environment. 

“For too long, some in the scientific community have sought to abuse the process to manipulate a predetermined outcome. It’s a shameful practice that must come to an end and shedding light in the dark swamp that Washington DC has become will only help. 

“Just as laws are meaningless without enforcement, transparency is just a political buzz word without proper review. Sadly, restoring trust in government appears an impossible task these days but this rule is a step in the right direction and sets up a future where citizens can verify the information the government is using when making decisions about their health.”

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