Science and fact based policy decisions pose a problem for the Trump/Pence regime in its effort to roll back public health protections and destroy clean air and clean water regulations. Why? Because they support the regulations that Trump/Pence seeks to gut to aid big business, especially the fossil fuel industry. What's the solution when one wants to aid polluters and industry dangerous to public health? One limits the use of science in setting regulatory policies. While the results may line corporate pockets, it will not be a win for the public and long term safety standards. Between universal health care and an embrace, rather than a rejection of science, are among the reasons Europeans increasingly enjoy longer life spans than Americans, not that any of this matters to Trump and the vulture capitalists he champions. The latest assault on public health care policy comes in efforts to limit the role of science in the EPA's policy making process. A piece in New York Magazine looks at this aspect of the Trump/Pence regimes effort to restore the worse aspects of the Gilded Age. Here are excerpts which also suggests that opposing these efforts should be part of the Democrats' 2020 agenda:
There are essentially two fronts in the Trump administration’s long battle to dismantle EPA protections and deregulate industry to allow increased pollution in the pursuit of short-term profit: the rolling back of specific laws that ensure access to clean air and water, and an attack on the science that informs the Environmental Protection Agency’s policy decisions.
On that second front, the White House has undermined individual targets, like the 2017 establishment of veto power over scientific studies produced by the EPA, and the recent massaging of information to suggest pollution from coal plants kill less Americans every year than is the case. But a new draft of an EPA proposal published Monday suggests that the Trump administration is preparing a comprehensive assault on the ability for scientists funded by the agency to suggest policy with accurate data. Under the guise of transparency, the proposal will allow the EPA to reject any academic findings unless all raw data from the study — including confidential medical records — is handed over.
As the New York Times notes, the inclusion of confidential records will severely hinder the ability of researchers to propose new clean air and water legislation, as “many studies detailing the links between pollution and disease rely on personal health information gathered under confidentiality agreements.” The proposal would also apply retroactively, meaning that a practice that has been built into public health research could nullify current policies built off of established studies — including findings proving that mercury discharge from power plants affects brain development, and that lead in paint dust is associated with childhood behavioral disorders.
“This means the E.P.A. can justify rolling back rules or failing to update rules based on the best information to protect public health and the environment, which means more dirty air and more premature deaths,” Paul Billings, a senior vice president at the American Lung Association, told the Times. Other advocacy groups to condemn a previous draft of the proposal — which was less exacting than the current one — include the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Medical Library Association, the Association of Academic Health Science Libraries, and the National Center for Science Education, which claimed that the policy “would send a deeply misleading message, ignoring the thoughtful processes that scientists use to ensure that all relevant evidence is considered.”
[I]t’s strange that 2020 Democrats have yet to push Trump’s failure to ensure Americans’ access to clean air and water — concerns that are broadly supported across the political spectrum. In a recent analysis on the popularity of strong anti-pollution enforcement, New York’s Eric Levitz argued that “it would be in the Democratic Party’s interest to increase the salience of environmental issues even if Trump hadn’t spent the past two years letting Big Coal and Dow Chemical run the EPA.”
Put another way, if Democrats aren’t able to leverage the popularity of environmental protections, Trump could be able to undermine the research underpinning the EPA for close to a decade.