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8 Attorneys General Challenge EPA's Thinly-Veiled Attack on Science

Proposal would have far-reaching impact on agency's mission to protect public health and the environment


May 7, 2018
Contact: Christopher Gray

Washington, D.C.- New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman led a coalition of eight attorneys general today in submitting a letter to Administrator Scott Pruitt requesting that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) halt its proposed rule to limit the use of scientific evidence in rulemakings. The letter also urged EPA to consult with the National Academies of Sciences before moving forward with any proposed changes to how EPA uses science in its regulatory process.

"In light of the far-reaching impact the proposal could have on EPA's mission to protect public health and the environment, we ask that you withdraw the proposed rule and convene a process to first consult with the National Academy of Sciences and other independent scientists and science organizations before deciding whether any proposed changes to EPA's current use of scientific evidence are in order," wrote the attorneys general in the letter. In the event that EPA is unwilling to withdraw the proposal, the attorneys general also requested an extension of time for filing comments.

"It's absurd that the Environmental Protection Agency would consider limiting the scientific evidence used in its decision making - although it's certainly not surprising, as the Trump administration continues to put special interests before New Yorkers' health and environment," said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

"State attorneys general are insisting that real scientists weigh in on Scott Pruitt's proposed exclusion of peer-reviewed science from regulatory proceedings," said David J. Hayes, Executive Director of the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center. "Shame on EPA for trying to avoid input from the National Academy of Sciences, the Congressionally-chartered organization charged with providing 'objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology.' No shortcuts can be tolerated when human and environmental health are at stake."

In addition to New York, attorneys general from California, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. signed the letter. 


On Monday, April 30, the EPA published a proposed rule that would restrict EPA reliance on any scientific studies that do not include publication of underlying data and methodology. The rule could enable EPA to discard peer-reviewed health studies during decision-making if researchers are unable to provide confidential patient information. Health studies are key components of the body of scientific work that support many EPA rules. They serve as the backbone for some of our nation's most important clean air and clean water protections.

Since January 2017, state attorneys general have taken nearly 100 actions to advance and defend progressive clean energy, climate and environmental laws and policies. View all actions on the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center's online hub.

ABOUT THE STATE ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT CENTER: The State Energy & Environmental Impact Center is a non-partisan Center at the NYU School of Law that is dedicated to helping state attorneys general fight against regulatory rollbacks and advance clean energy, climate change, and environmental values and protections. It was launched in August 2017 with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies. For more information, visit http://www.law.nyu.edu/centers/state-impact.