BOSTON – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey joined a coalition of leaders from 23 states, counties, and cities in calling on Acting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler to withdraw his predecessor Scott Pruitt’s illegal plan to prohibit the agency from using the latest, best available, and generally-accepted scientific studies in its decision-making.
“Only during the Trump Administration would we need to threaten a lawsuit to defend the use of scientific studies,” Healey said. “This rule is a threat to public health and an embarrassment.”
The coalition’s comments argue that the proposed “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” rule is illegal, erroneous in its reasoning, and threatens the health of states’ residents and natural resources. If finalized, the proposal would generally bar the agency from relying on many peer-review-validated scientific studies, models and other important information. The coalition also said in its comments it is ready to pursue legal action if Wheeler does not abandon Pruitt’s illegal proposal.
By censoring the types of scientific studies, the EPA can consider in its decision-making, the coalition contends, the proposed rule would violate the very federal laws that EPA is required to uphold – including the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water and Air Acts, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (a.k.a. Superfund), the Toxic Substances Control Act, and other of the nation’s core environmental and public health statutes.
The comments also argue that Pruitt’s proposal violates bedrock rulemaking requirements under federal law, because aspects of the proposal are so vague that it deprives the public of a meaningful opportunity to participate in the decision-making process.
Joining Healey in filing the comments are the attorneys general of New York, New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and the District of Columbia; the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; and the Attorneys of King County, Washington and the cities of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.