Scientists’ Call to Action: Make Your Voice Heard to Protect Science and Public Health


Sudip S. Parik, Chief Executive Officer, American Association For The Advancement Of Science (AAAS), and Executive Publisher, Science Journals

Dear Members,

I’m writing to alert you about an important matter and to ask for your help in addressing it. As many of you many know, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been considering a proposal informally known as the “Transparency Rule.” {Though the rule’s true aim is anything but transparent.} If implemented, this policy would fundamentally change the way science is used to inform regulations and policies that aim to protect public health and the environment, as well as the information it shares with the public—cornerstones of the EPA’s mission.

A link to my statement on this proposed policy is here. In short, this move risks eliminating wide swaths of science that can be used to inform EPA actions and policies. It sets a dangerous precedent and puts public health at risk. We at AAAS have consistently expressed our concerns regarding this proposal as it has moved through EPA’s rulemaking process. My predecessors, Alan Leshner and Rush Holt, have written to Congress and the administration, testified on Capitol Hill, and joined with nearly 70 scientific and health organizations in voicing opposition to the proposed rule. In addition, the editors of the world’s major scientific journals, led by Science, have voiced their concerns. Perhaps most alarming, though, is that this policy has advanced despite concerns from the EPA’s own independent Science Advisory Board. The agency is ignoring the advice of its own scientific advisors and the larger scientific community.

Why am I writing you now? Because this is the last time the public can weigh in before the proposed rule goes into effect. The EPA has just published an update to the rule, called a supplemental, and the public now has 30 days to comment.

AAAS will submit a request to EPA to extend the comment period to a full 90-days and is drafting more technical comments to the supplemental rule. I am calling on you, our members, to follow our lead and request an extension and submit your own comments to defend science, and why this proposed rule jeopardizes the way science is used to protect public health and the environment.

Let me be clear: the issue before us is much greater than environmental regulation. This is just a symptom of a larger problem. When science is sidelined, we all suffer. We must come together as a scientific enterprise—from astronomy to zoology—to stand up and speak out for the essential role that science must play in our policymaking process.

To submit comments by the deadline of April 17, 2020, do so here.

Thank you for all that you do,

Sudip Parikh's signature

Sudip S. Parikh
Chief Executive Officer, AAAS,
and Executive Publisher, Science Journals