WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency today officially reversed the former Trump administration’s controversial “secret science” rule that prevented the agency from relying on the most up-to-date scientific studies when evaluating potential actions around toxic chemicals, air pollution and drinking water contamination.
In a statement, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said today’s action will ensure the agency “can utilize the best available science and data to support our work to protect the public from pollution. The Biden-Harris Administration has an unwavering commitment to scientific integrity, and to listening to experts and scientists so we can move forward with urgency to deliver on EPA’s mission.”
Today’s move comes after a federal court in February ordered the Trump rule to be tossed out on grounds that the agency “lacked authorization to promulgate the rule."
“The Biden administration is making clear that the best available science, and not political interference from industry, will guide the EPA’s decisions on protecting the public from pollution,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Undoing the damage done by the industry lobbyists Trump hired to run the EPA is an enormous undertaking. Thankfully it is a top priority for the president and Administrator Regan.”
The Trump-era rule was initially proposed by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who resigned in disgrace, and finalized in the waning days of the former administration by Pruitt’s successor, former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler. The rule was set to go into effect early this year until U.S. District Judge Brian Morris struck it down.
The rule was widely condemned by independent and agency scientists, and public health and environmental organizations, who argued from the start that it would undermine the ability of the EPA to rely on all available scientific studies when making rules to safeguard the public and the environment from industrial pollution, including toxic chemicals. The proposal was designed to weaken the science underneath federal environmental rulemaking in ways that would benefit regulated industries.
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action. Visit www.ewg.org for more information.