Act now on the EPA’s proposed rule that limits the science that can form the basis of public policy

The following is from Rush Holt, the Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is requesting the AAPA (as an affiliate association of the AAAS) and our members to oppose this pending EPA rule. The deadline for your response is May 30, 2018.


Dear AAAS Affiliate,

On April 30th the Environmental Protection Agency posted a proposed rule for public comment in the Federal Register that would require the EPA “to ensure that the regulatory science underlying its action is publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent validation.” The agency is proposing that data, associated protocols, computer codes and models, recorded factual materials, and “detailed descriptions of how to access and use such information” be publicly available for it to be utilized in EPA policies and regulations. The proposed rule also notes that the information must be “consistent with law, protects privacy, confidentiality, confidential business information, and is sensitive to national and homeland security.”

I issued a statement expressing concern that this “proposal appears to be an attempt to remove valid and relevant scientific evidence from the rule-making process.” In addition, the journal Science along with other scholarly journals issued a statement saying that the EPA Administrator is wrong to justify his proposal by referring to the policies on openness and making data public under transparency standards for research papers submitted to major science journals. The editors-in-chief note that “Excluding relevant studies simply because they do not meet rigid transparency standards will adversely affect decision-making processes.”

I am alerting you to this proposed rule to encourage your organization and your members, as appropriate, to consider submitting comments. AAAS will be submitting comments and we will provide an opportunity for societies to join in the statement. However, we hope that individual societies that have an interest in this topic will submit individual comments as it is important that a wide range of scientific groups weigh in on this matter. If any individuals and affiliates know illustrative examples of good, relevant science that would be excluded from environmental protection under this rule, we would like to work with you to communicate that. Please contact Joanne Carney (see contact information below).

Public comments are due May 30, 2018. Finally, we encourage societies to request an extension to EPA’s public comment period beyond the current 30 days. The issue is too critical and complex and should be afforded the full 90-day comment period.


Rush D. Holt
Chief Executive Officer
American Association for the Advancement of Science

For further information contact:

Joanne Padrón Carney
Director, Office of Government Relations
American Association for the Advancement of Science
1200 New York Avenue, NW 20005
Telephone: 202/326-6798