American Chemical Society statement on final EPA transparency rule

The American Chemical Society (ACS) expresses strong disappointment with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recent decision to finalize a rule changing the nature of the data and scientific information used in rulemaking, “Strengthening Transparency in Pivotal Science Underlying Significant Regulatory Actions and Influential Scientific Information.” ACS urges the incoming Biden administration, as well as the 117th Congress, to move swiftly to review and make necessary changes to the regulation. 

The rule would allow EPA to eliminate scientific information when considering major regulatory actions, while also giving the agency’s administrator excessive authority to pick and choose which data career staff use when considering rulemaking. Studies using confidential personal health information could be excluded, leaving policymakers in the dark about potential health and safety effects. 

“ACS has offered multiple comments to EPA expressing serious concerns about changes that could, in effect, exclude important scientific data from consideration,” says Glenn S. Ruskin, vice president, ACS External Affairs & Communications. “It is unfortunate that our suggestions, and the suggestions of the scientific community at large, were not incorporated into the finalized rule. We look forward to working with the Biden administration and the 117th Congress to ensure that this rule is modified and all relevant scientific information is weighed in decision-making.”

The importance of this issue is highlighted in the ACS statement “Scientific Integrity in Public Policy.” According to that statement, “Scientific integrity — including the independence of the scientific process and the rigorous application of science-based knowledge — should be upheld throughout all levels of government. Scientists and engineers should provide comprehensive, transparent, unbiased, and understandable technical analyses. Policymakers should consider scientific analyses and relevant technical information in a comprehensive, transparent, and unbiased manner.”