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EPA ices plan to limit how many health-related studies can be considered in forming regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency has put on ice a proposal that would limit the number of health-related ...

Posted: Oct 18, 2018 9:24 AM
Updated: Oct 18, 2018 9:24 AM

The Environmental Protection Agency has put on ice a proposal that would limit the number of health-related studies the agency can consider when drafting regulations -- a rule critics worried would loosen health protections in agency policies.

The proposal was championed by then-Administrator Scott Pruitt, who lost his job amid a lengthy list of ethics investigations. The current acting administrator, Scott Wheeler, has sounded less enthusiastic about it.

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The Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science rule would block the agency from considering scientific studies where the underlying data is not made public. While publishing data is common in many branches of science, health-related scientists are subject to patient privacy restrictions and may not publish the raw data.

That concerned science advocates such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, which said the rule would require agency employees "to put on blinders and only see the science that they want them to see."

EPA spokesman Michael Abboud said on Wednesday the proposal is a "long-term action" and that the EPA does not expect to finalize it "within the next 12 months."

The agency said it received more than 597,000 comments on the proposal, and that it did not want to rush the review.

The White House's Office of Management and Budget, which oversees the regulatory process, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Shortly after Wheeler took the reins of the EPA, he said in an interview that he wanted "to move forward" on the issue, but the final rule might not "look exactly like the proposal."

"That was proposed before I got here. I'm going to take a hard look at it," he told the publication E&E News. "But fundamentally, I do believe that the more information you put out to the public, the better the regulatory decisions will be and the better understood the regulatory decisions will be by the public."

The administration's approach to science has drawn the attention of the EPA inspector general, who announced in August a study of the "extent and type of employee concerns, if any, with scientific integrity."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 918230

Reported Deaths: 15011
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1252491952
Lake623371084
Allen52301746
Hamilton43009443
St. Joseph41155584
Elkhart32831485
Vanderburgh29698436
Tippecanoe26442247
Johnson23106414
Hendricks21708338
Porter21255340
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Madison16899378
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Delaware13613215
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Warrick10431174
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Wayne9557216
Grant8858194
Morgan8654158
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Dubois7521123
Henry7391126
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Marshall7168127
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Ohio75811
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1319265

Reported Deaths: 21265
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1480641537
Cuyahoga1311202313
Hamilton948871307
Montgomery647451122
Summit548531041
Lucas49502853
Butler45993649
Stark39954963
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Delaware21722140
Licking19822239
Fairfield19780218
Greene19671266
Medina19208285
Trumbull19195506
Clark17188321
Portage15585224
Richland15540228
Wood15187208
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Wayne11448234
Columbiana11100239
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Pickaway10162128
Scioto9766124
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Ross8979172
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Ashtabula8083184
Geauga7976155
Belmont7791183
Jefferson7093168
Huron7087125
Union703549
Washington6823116
Athens666163
Sandusky6608132
Darke6394135
Knox6308120
Seneca6113135
Auglaize569888
Ashland5631110
Shelby555799
Mercer545188
Brown533067
Defiance5278100
Madison527368
Crawford5148113
Highland514876
Fulton508781
Clinton505379
Logan494582
Preble4788110
Putnam4733106
Guernsey439057
Williams437281
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Ottawa425783
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Adams338864
Gallia329254
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Van Wert299269
Hocking280467
Wyandot271858
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Paulding231742
Meigs197842
Monroe178649
Noble160340
Morgan153528
Harrison145740
Vinton130217
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