Party of science suing to block EPA rule requiring science transparency

You’ve no doubt heard these claims endlessly by now. The Democrats are the “party of science.” (Provided you’re talking about global warming and only using the science they approve of.) The Republicans are the party that rejects science and wants everyone to die. But apparently, not all “science” is created equal. When the EPA began moving to implement the “Secret Science” rule, liberals screamed bloody murder. This is a rule that requires any scientific studies used by the agency when making decisions to supply the underlying data used in the study for public scrutiny. Makes sense, right? After all, you want to be using good science and not politicized junk science.

You might think so, but not everyone agrees. A coalition of so-called “green groups” filed a lawsuit yesterday seeking to block the rule from going into effect. And the reason they provided for doing it is painfully disingenuous. (The Hill)

Green groups on Monday filed a lawsuit in an attempt to prevent a new rule limiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) use of certain studies from taking effect.

The lawsuit takes aim at the EPA’s Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science rule, also known as the “secret science” rule, which restricts the use of studies that don’t make their underlying data public.

The agency has billed the rule as a transparency measure, though its opponents argue that it will prevent consideration of important public health studies that can’t publish their data for reasons such as privacy.

So the skimpy argument being put forward by these allegedly environmentally-minded groups is that important health studies would be disqualified from consideration because exposure of the data could violate the privacy rights of some of the participants. Let that sink in for a moment.

This is yet another pile of malarkey. Health studies of all types are regularly taken under consideration, particularly at the FDA. The most recent examples of interest involve the vaccine trials from Pfizer and Moderna. Do you know why those studies don’t violate anyone’s privacy rights or run afoul of HIPAA concerns? Because they strip the names of the patients out. Unless you’re talking about some type of lawsuit, the identity of the patients isn’t of concern. All they need to record is the patient’s gender, age, underlying health concerns and related facts.

And keep in mind, those studies are generally specific to the CDC and the FDA. How many “important public health studies” does the Environmental Protection Agency use? Sure, there are certainly some relating to health impacts from pollution and other factors, but most of them deal in far more non-human data. And for the health studies they do use, they can strip the names out of those as well.

This lawsuit is nonsense, but the real motive of the plaintiffs shouldn’t be hard to guess. Too many of the environmental studies regarding climate change that have been used in the past were dodgy at best. There are more than a few examples of such studies that fell flat on their faces when subjected to public scrutiny by other scientists. If they have to reveal their data, they run the risk of their own peers examining their work and finding it lacking.

Instead, they choose to release executive summaries of the studies, designed to be digestible by the layman, but not showing the meat of the work underlying their findings. That’s a great tool to use when a compliant government agency is willing to accept it at face value, but it’s not science. This rule could put an end to all of the back-room wheeling and dealing and allow the science to stand on its own two feet, no matter which groups benefit from it. The fact that liberals don’t like a rule designed to provide transparency when it comes to the science being cited as the reason for additional regulations should tell you all you need to know.