The EPA announced that the roll out of its controversial science proposal will now be park of the Trump administration’s “long term actions” agenda. The rule, which received 600,000 comments, would “limit the kind of studies the EPA could use to make regulations to only studies that relied on data that was publicly available and therefore, reproducible,” EcoWatch reported.
Scientists and environmentalists claim this proposal will exclude important public health studies, including patients medical records, which can’t be made public because of privacy concerns or industry confidentiality. Many opponents against the rule say it will “undermine the essential mission of the EPA,” E&E News reported.
“A lot of the data that EPA uses to protect public health and ensure that we have clean air and clean water relies on data that cannot be publicly released,” Yogin Kothari from the Union of Concerned Scientists said.
The EPA said it will most likely finalize the rule come January 2020.
“This is not a delay,” Michael Abboud, EPA spokesman, said to The Hill. “The agency is continuing its internal rule making development process for this action.”
The EPA’s “agenda to sideline science” is still front and center, Kothari said.
“The current political leadership still wants to move forward with Pruitt’s agenda to sideline science, just at a slower pace,” Kothari said. “It’s clear the agency’s political leadership still wants to ignore the best available science when it comes to protecting public health and the environment.”
Here’s what the EPA is currently up to, according to an EcoWatch report:
- The Clean Power Plan: The final rule on repealing former President Barack Obama’s attempt to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants is scheduled for March of 2019.
- The Clean Water Rule: The final repeal of another Obama era regulation to extend water protections to ponds and streams is also due in March.
- Fuel Efficiency Standards: The plan to freeze fuel efficiency standards in 2020 will also be finalized in March.
- Methane Pollution Rules: The EPA hopes to finalize its repeal of regulations limiting methane pollution from oil and natural gas drilling.