Earth Day Read: Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, the EPA continues to advocate proposed “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” Rule

Proposed by the leaders of the Environmental Protection Agency, under Andrew Wheeler, on April 30, 2018, this rule would determine the research taken into account in future environmental decision making in the United States. The proposal states that “This action provides that EPA will ensure that the regulatory science underlying its actions is publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent validation.” Essentially, the EPA would only recognize peer reviewed scientific studies that make their raw data public, or rely on already public data. The deadline for the latest revision of the proposal has been moved to May 18, 2020, a one month extension. Amid the COVID-19 crisis in the United States, this proposal could prevent consideration of new research as it is conducted on the relationship between pollution, public health and susceptibility to COVID-19. For example, studies that may use personal medical history, addresses and income to track rates of COVID-19 infections in relation to rates of air pollution would not be considered since the raw data is highly personal and would not be made public.