The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has officially repealed the former Trump administration’s controversial secret science rule. Opponents of the rule – including independent and regulatory scientists as well as environmental organizations – argued that it would undermine the EPA’s ability to use all available scientific studies when developing policies to protect the public and the environment from industrial pollution.
The “occult science” rule was originally proposed during the administration of Donald Trump by former EPO chief Scott Pruitt, whose successor Andrew Wheeler finalized the ordinance just weeks before Joe Biden’s inauguration in January. The ordinance was supposed to go into effect, but a US district judge ruled in February that it exceeded the EPA’s “budgetary” powers.
The Trump administration’s EPA defended the rule to increase the transparency behind the agency’s science and instill more confidence in its regulatory decisions. But the EPA, now headed by Michael Regan, who worked on the agency’s air quality and energy programs during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, implemented the court’s February decision and officially overturned the ordinance on May 26 on.
“This move ensures that the EPA can use the best available science and data to support our work to protect the public from pollution,” said Regan, who is the first African American to head the EPA and previously held an executive position of environmental defense held funds. “The Biden-Harris administration has an unwavering commitment to scientific integrity and to listening to experts and scientists so that we can urgently serve the EPA’s mission,” he said.