Assessing the Rationale for the U.S. EPA’s Proposed “Strengthening Transparency In Regulatory Science” Rule

Review of Environmental Economics and Policy (2020) 14(1): 131–135

Madison E. Condon, Michael A. Livermore and Jeffrey G. Shrader

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering a new policy that would prohibit the agency from issuing regulations that rely on studies whose underlying data are not publicly available. While the EPA claims it is pursuing this policy in the interest of transparency, we argue that such a prohibition would greatly hinder, rather than help, the rulemaking process and would likely result in undesirable regulatory outcomes that fail to maximize economic welfare.

This policy brief argues that a good faith effort to encourage data availability should focus on forward-looking incentives for transparency rather than the exclusion of a whole class of studies, and that weighting older studies based on their evidentiary value is preferable to removing valuable information from agency consideration.

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