The Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving forward with a proposed rule change that would slash the agency’s access to good scientific data in the future.
This grasp for self-imposed censorship would boost EPA reliance on industry-provided data by barring it from considering many of the best academic studies. That’s because the new “transparency” rule would require revealing the identities of individuals who participate in studies.
It’s standard practice in reputable academic studies to guarantee the anonymity of individual study participants. Without that guarantee, it is far more difficult to persuade a representative sample of potentially impacted people to speak candidly with researchers about their health and the factors which may be impacting it.
Research scientists and environmental advocates alike knock the Trump Administration rulemaking as a thinly veiled excuse to suppress the use of studies which show the full dangers of industrial pollution.
“This proposal has nothing to do with science. They want politicians, not scientists, to evaluate the evidence of harm to the public,” said Michael Halpern, deputy director for the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “This entire exercise is designed to exclude certain types of public health studies that demonstrate that pollution makes people sick.”
Opponents of Trump’s gag rule have promised to fight it in Congress and the courts if necessary.