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Washington, D.C. Nov. 12, 2019 – The Trump Administration has drafted a new EPA proposal that requires all confidential medical information related to health studies used as the basis of federal pollution regulations be made public for industry groups and others to scrutinize, or the regulations will not be implemented.
The draft of the rule, called “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science,” is available here and was reported in today’s New York Times. It will be subject to a House committee hearing on Wednesday.
Eric Schaeffer, former Director of Civil Enforcement at EPA and now Executive Director of the Environmental Integrity Project, offered the following reaction to the proposal: “Keeping patient records confidential is a cornerstone of modern medical science. People will not participate in studies that evaluate how pollutants affect human health once they understand their personal medical records will no longer be private. This initiative is designed to kill research that might expose dangerous pollutants and force industry to spend money on cleanup.”
This Trump Administration proposal is worse than a previous draft of the rules because it is retroactive – and would apparently attempt to invalidate a landmark 1993 study by Harvard researchers called the “Six Cities” study that was the basis of national particulate standards for coal-fired power plants, and other air pollution controls rules now in place.
The Environmental Integrity Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas, that protects public health and the environment by investigating polluters, holding them accountable under the law, and strengthening public policy. www.environmentalintegrity.org