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AAA Opposes EPA Effort to Limit Scientific Research
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s proposed rule regarding the regulatory science underlying Agency actions is anything but “fully transparent.” In fact, it has the opposite effect, making it harder for rigorous and responsible science to be included in the rule-making process.
According to the proposal, research would be banned if its underlying data had not been made public or been independently reproduced. This, in itself, is misleading. Data sharing has always been a key component in obtaining certifiable scientific results. There are, however, special circumstances where data cannot be shared openly, including studies relying on personal identifiers such as confidential health records and clinical data. Ethnographic studies, for example, often contain personal information and data that require restrictions to maintain the privacy of the individual.
The goal of this proposal is to stave off science-based policies with which the Agency and Administration disagrees, not to promote transparency. Open, transparent, peer-reviewed, reproducible science can still be obtained without sacrificing the legal requirements and privacy and confidentiality ethics that are required to responsibly perform some of this research.
We encourage the EPA to listen to the scientists behind the science and strengthen, not weaken, the rule-making process.
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Founded in 1902, the American Anthropological Association, with 10,000 members, is the world’s largest scholarly and professional organization of anthropologists. The Association is dedicated to advancing human understanding and applying this understanding to the world’s most pressing problems.