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Attorneys General Request Comment from National Academy of Sciences on EPA Anti-Science Rule

Proposed rule would have far-reaching impact on agency’s mission to protect public health and the environment

May 30, 2018
Contact: Christopher Gray

Washington, D.C.— New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood led a coalition of seven attorneys general and five city attorneys in submitting a letter yesterday requesting the National Academy of Sciences to formally comment on an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed rule to limit the use of scientific evidence in rulemakings. 

“Because of the importance of this issue to public health and the environment, and because EPA has not indicated that it intends to seek appropriate input and guidance from the leading scientists in the nation on this fundamental question of the use of science in EPA’s execution of its mission, we write to you directly to ask that the National Academy review and comment on EPA’s proposal,” wrote the attorneys general in the letter.

Earlier this month, eight AGs requested that EPA withdraw the proposal and first consult with the National Academy before deciding whether any changes to EPA’s current use of scientific evidence are in order. The attorneys general additionally requested that if EPA is unwilling to withdraw the proposal that an extension of time to file comments on the proposal should be granted. Two weeks later EPA announced it would extend the comment deadline until August 2018 and that it would hold a public hearing on the proposal in July 2018. 

“Shame on EPA Administration Scott Pruitt -- a lawyer -- for putting out a major science proposal without consulting with the National Academy of Sciences -- our nation’s premier science organization that Congress has charged with providing ‘objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology,’” said David J. Hayes, Executive Director of the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center. “Because no ideology or lawyer-driven shortcuts can be tolerated when human and environmental health are at stake, state attorneys general are stepping into the breach and asking the National Academy to contribute its independent scientific judgment into the rulemaking record.”

In addition to New York, Attorneys General of Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and District of Columbia, and City Attorneys of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Oakland, and San Francisco 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, which are the backbone for some of our nation’s most important clean air and clean water protections. Comments are due on the EPA proposal on August 16, 2018. 

Since January 2017, state attorneys general have taken over 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 website.

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.