Howard's Blog

Howard A. Learner

Sound Science is Vital to Public Health

I really am stunned that we need to defend established science. Vital environmental standards depend on sound science in the regulatory process.

The American people overwhelmingly support these sensible public health protections, but we’re seeing a “throw the spaghetti against the wall” attempt to defeat them left and right.

Here’s the latest battle which ELPC, our colleagues at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and other allies are fighting: The Trump administration is quietly, secretly, and vigorously pursuing policies that will let political appointees simply toss away health studies if they don’t like the results. 

The Trump EPA’s “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science“—an Orwellian title if there ever was one—proposal would enable federal agencies to ignore scientifically sound studies if the entire data set isn’t made available to the public. That might sound reasonable on the surface, but it makes little sense in the real world of how sound scientific research is actually conducted. Privacy rules and patient protections prevent individual data from being released. Medical and public health studies use anonymous data to determine if and how air and water pollution, exhaust from cars and coal plants, and the impacts of climate change harm public health and safety. Check out ELPC Federal Legislative Director Ann Mesnikoff’s blog post to read more about this rule.

Think about how this plays out in the context of the current COVID-19 public health crisis. We know that it helps to stay six feet away from other people because of years of health data collection and analysis, epidemiological studies, and observations of how disease works. We also need to engage the scientific process ror better and more rapid COVID-19 tests.

ELPC is fighting back and playing to win when it comes to assuring that sound science forms the basis for setting sensible public health and environmental protection standards.

Howard A. Learner,

President and Executive Director, Environmental Law & Policy Center

Howard Learner is an experienced attorney serving as the President and Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. He is responsible for ELPC’s overall strategic leadership, policy direction, and financial platform.

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