EPA wants research data to be readily available
The screech from the NYT below relies, as usual, on a distortion.
Much of the "science" used by the EPA has in the past been secret. The conclusions are announced but not the raw data used to arrive at the conclusion. That is a breach of scientific ethics but Greenies don't care about that. Often, other scientists have doubted the conclusions and asked for a copy of the raw data so that they can do their own analyses. The EPA has refused, a practice that throws their findings into doubt.
The new Trump rules aim to stop the rot. Unless the data is made available to other scientists, the conclusions will be ignored.
The NYT rubbish below pretends that the new rules will cause scientists to breach confidentiality. It will not. The raw data can be and normally is anonymized. All that is required is a set of numbers
The Trump administration is preparing to significantly limit the scientific and medical research that the government can use to determine public health regulations, overriding protests from scientists and physicians who say the new rule would undermine the scientific underpinnings of government policymaking.
A new draft of the Environmental Protection Agency proposal, titled Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, would require that scientists disclose all of their raw data, including confidential medical records, before the agency could consider an academic study’s conclusions. E.P.A. officials called the plan a step toward transparency and said the disclosure of raw data would allow conclusions to be verified independently.
“We are committed to the highest quality science,” Andrew Wheeler, the E.P.A. administrator, told a congressional committee in September. “Good science is science that can be replicated and independently validated, science that can hold up to scrutiny. That is why we’re moving forward to ensure that the science supporting agency decisions is transparent and available for evaluation by the public and stakeholders.”
The measure would make it more difficult to enact new clean air and water rules because many studies detailing the links between pollution and disease rely on personal health information gathered under confidentiality agreements. And, unlike a version of the proposal that surfaced in early 2018, this one could apply retroactively to public health regulations already in place.
“This means the E.P.A. can justify rolling back rules or failing to update rules based on the best information to protect public health and the environment, which means more dirty air and more premature deaths,” said Paul Billings, senior vice president for advocacy at the American Lung Association.
Public health experts warned that studies that have been used for decades — to show, for example, that mercury from power plants impairs brain development, or that lead in paint dust is tied to behavioral disorders in children — might be inadmissible when existing regulations come up for renewal.
For instance, a groundbreaking 1993 Harvard University project that definitively linked polluted air to premature deaths, currently the foundation of the nation’s airquality laws, could become inadmissible. When gathering data for their research, known as the Six Cities study, scientists signed confidentiality agreements to track the private medical and occupational histories of more than 22,000 people in six cities. They combined that personal data with home air-quality data to study the link between chronic exposure to air pollution and mortality.