Attorney General Becerra Slams Trump Administration's Proposed Anti-Science Rule

Monday, May 18, 2020
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today, as part of a multistate coalition, slammed a Trump Administration supplemental proposal to limit the use of critical scientific evidence in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision-making on actions relating to public health and the environment. The proposed rule requires the EPA to ignore robust scientific research if the researchers are unable to make the underlying data public. The EPA regularly utilizes scientific studies that rely upon private health data, a common and accepted scientific practice that protects individuals’ sensitive and personal information. Despite this, and in the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis, the Trump Administration is expanding the scope of its initial proposal to further tip the scales to favor industry-backed studies over independent scientific research. In the comment letter, the coalition urges the EPA to abandon this damaging and unfounded anti-science rule.

“In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump Administration seeks to deal a critical blow to robust, independent scientific research,” said Attorney General Becerra. “It is not a coincidence that the EPA’s proposed rule makes it easier for the federal government to ignore legitimate health studies in favor of industry-backed propaganda. The Trump Administration's fear of science has led it to strike out once again with this amended proposal.”

Private health data has been used as underlying support for a variety of environmental and public health laws, including the Safe Drinking Water Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Clean Air Act. While the coalition supports transparency and the goal of using the best available science in decision-making, this proposed rule advances neither. Instead, the EPA unnecessarily restricts the use of scientific studies and imposes timely and costly levels of review, endangering public health, safety, and the environment. If the agency truly seeks to improve the quality of the science it relies on, it should work with the Science Advisory Board, the National Academies, and other experts in the field, as well as state and local governments, to address issues such as transparency and data quality. 

In the comment letter, the coalition highlights that the anti-science rule violates controlling federal law, is arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act, contains clear errors in reasoning, and is contrary to best scientific practices. In the midst of one of the worst public health crises our nation has ever faced, the Trump Administration must abandon this proposal, which undermines the robust scientific research that informs the EPA's actions to protect public health and environment.  

On August 17, 2018, Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined a multistate coalition in expressing strong opposition to the initial proposal by the EPA to effectively restrict the EPA’s access to critical scientific data.   

In filing the comment letter, Attorney General Becerra is joined by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia, as well as the attorneys of King County, Washington and the Cities of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

A copy of the comment letter can be found here.

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