Science Advisory Board Issues Comments on Agency’s Draft Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science Rulemaking
WASHINGTON (April 28, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB) transmitted its official advice and comments to EPA Administrator Wheeler on the Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science proposed rule. In their report, the SAB shared their support of the concept of the proposed rule and supplemental:
“The SAB recognizes the importance of this rule and its purpose, establishing transparency of the influential scientific information used for significant regulations and enhancing public access to scientific data and analytical methods to help ensure scientific integrity, consistency and robust analysis. Strengthening transparency by improving access to data can lead to an increase in the quantity and the quality of evidence that informs important regulatory science and policy decisions. The scientific community is moving toward adopting the precept of sharing accurate data and information to increase credibility, high-quality outcomes and public confidence in science. The SAB supports the adoption of this precept.”
“I fundamentally believe in Community Right to Know and the American public has the right to know what scientific studies underline the Agency’s regulatory decisions,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “I want to thank the SAB for recognizing the importance of the rulemaking and their support in the Agency’s efforts to increase transparency and data sharing, which will increase credibility, high-quality outcomes, and public confidence in science.”
Additionally, many of the SAB’s comments underscored the need for the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM), which was issued by EPA in March 2020 and clarified many of the SAB’s key considerations. For example, SAB recommended that EPA consider tiered access for Confidential Business Information (CBI) and Personally Identifying Information (PII) and that EPA better clarify certain definitions, including “data.” The SNPRM had already modified the proposed rule language to allow for tiered access considerations and provided a definition for “data.” The SAB also discussed technological difficulties with making older datasets available, a point that EPA addressed in the SNPRM as well. Although much of the SAB report focused on the proposed rule rather than the SNPRM, SAB’s comments on the rulemaking effort and, in particular, the development of post-rule guidance are still instructive and welcomed.
The Agency will consider the SAB comments in development of its final rule. EPA looks forward to continued work with SAB on data transparency and other important scientific topics.
On April 30, 2018, EPA issued the proposed rule, Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science. On March 3, 2020, EPA announced a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking to the proposed rule to provide clarifications on certain terms and aspects of the 2018 proposed rule. EPA issued an extension of the public comment period on the supplemental notice, which is now open until May 18, 2020. EPA expects to issue the final rulemaking later this year.
Learn more about the proposed rule: https://www.epa.gov/osa/strengthening-transparency-regulatory-science