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Stop the EPA from censoring science

Supporters Spoke up in this Action
To the Environmental Protection Agency

Action Ended On

May 18, 2020

What Happens Next

Thank you to all who took action! Read all of the public comments the EPA received on this proposed rule. By law, the EPA must review and analyze all comments it received during the public comment period. If the agency moves forward and issues a final rule, it must respond to significant issues raised during the public comment period. The final rule will be published in the Federal Register. After reviewing the comments, the agency may also choose to withdraw the proposal or issue a modified proposal. Earthjustice will continue to fight against the administration's attempt to eliminate the very studies that form the basis of our public health protections. We'll keep you updated on when your voice will be needed next in this fight.

What was at Stake

In the middle of a pandemic that’s creating a health emergency across the nation, the Trump administration’s attacks on science and public health continue. President Trump’s hand-picked leaders of the Environmental Protection Agency are trying to prevent the agency’s experts from using critical health research when creating the rules that protect the health of our communities. The proposed rule is reckless and unlawful.

The EPA's proposed plan could curb our ability to restrict air pollution and toxic chemicals, including limiting arsenic in drinking water, and could also result in the loss of existing lifesaving protections. We cannot afford to take critical health protections for granted. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved by these protections, and many more are at stake in the future.

Under the guise of “transparency,” the EPA wants to censor science by preventing the agency’s experts from using any studies that rely on confidential health information. Many regulations curbing dangerous pollution are supported by research that uses personal medical information, which is often required by law to remain private. By requiring the disclosure of underlying data as a requirement for a study’s use in important regulatory actions, the Trump EPA is knowingly eliminating the very studies that form the basis of our public health protections. The Trump appointees leading the EPA are willing to do anything that will undercut regulations and boost oil and gas companies’ profits, even if it costs lives. We have until May 18 to speak up and voice our opposition.

Janet, a fifth grader from Oakland, California, wears a symbolic mask, as she attends a public hearing held by the Environmental Protection Agency on strengthening the ozone pollution standard, February 2, 2015.
Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice

Janet, a fifth grader from Oakland, California, wears a symbolic mask, as she attends a public hearing held by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on strengthening the ozone pollution standard, February 2, 2015.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.