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Attorney General Josh Stein Opposes EPA Plan to Censor Agency Science

Release date: 8/17/2018

Attorney General today called on Acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler to withdraw his predecessor’s “harmful and deeply flawed” proposal to censor science at the Agency. The call was part of detailed comments Attorney General Stein submitted as part of a 23-member coalition of states, counties, and cities on former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s proposed “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” rule.

“Prioritizing strong science should be a no-brainer for the EPA,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “This rule is silly, but its impacts could be serious. I urge Acting Administrator Wheeler to withdraw it.”

The proposed rule would exclude from EPA decision making any scientific studies that have been validated by peer review simply because not all underlying data are available to the public. But, as Attorney General Stein’s comment points out, this would cause EPA to ignore many key health studies, since legally-required confidentiality protections prevent making those studies’ data public. The coalition charges that, in addition to making “little sense as a matter of science,” the proposal is “arbitrary and capricious, violates controlling federal law, and contains clear errors in reasoning.” The coalition affirms that they “stand ready to pursue legal remedies should EPA persist in this misguided effort.” By compromising EPA’s ability to use the latest, best available, and generally-accepted science, the proposed rule would violate the very federal laws that EPA is required to uphold – including the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water and Air Acts, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, and other of nation’s core environmental and public health statutes. Attorney General Stein is joined in signing these comments by the Attorneys General of New York, New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and the District of Columbia; the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; and the Attorneys of King County (WA) and the cities of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484


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