EPA Transparency Rule Will Bolster Science and Improve Rulemaking
Transparency is a cornerstone of the scientific process and a well-recognized goal long-extolled within the scientific community. As a 2014 editorial in the British publication Nature Geosciences explained, “Science thrives on reproducibility.” And reproducibility in science can only exist when researchers have access to two things: “full disclosure of the methods used to obtain and analyse data, and availability of the data that went into and came out of the analysis.” A recently proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule to promote transparency of scientific data underlying major regulations would help advance this goal in the realm of public policy.
Yet the EPA rule has proven highly controversial because of political and ideological influences. On one side are those who advocate stringent regulations that would err on the side of caution, and on the other are those who seek to streamline and reduce regulatory burdens. However, the rule’s ultimate goal is not to determine how much regulation we will have, but whether the regulations will be effective and necessary to achieve public health and environmental goals. By helping ensure the underlying science is valid, transparency will increase the probability that regulations will actually generate public health benefits and not unintentionally undermine public health and well-being.
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