The Trump administration has issued a directive that closes communication between the EPA and the public until the EPA director, Scott Pruitt, takes office. The directive also postpones the effective date of 30 regulations from February 10 to March 21, 2017. One such regulation sets the threshold values for the evaporation of formaldehyde from wood composites. Nevertheless, the reporting rule that the EPA issued for nanomaterials will go into effect as planned.
The gag order also applies to scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A limited block on the release of information is common during a change of administration. However, representatives of environmental organizations fear that scientists will face future limitations about informing citizens about risks and protecting them from possible health hazards.
Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists criticized the measures as disproportionate in a press release. “Scientists,” he says, “carry out research in support of policies that protect our . . . safety . . . it makes no sense to put up walls between them and the public.”
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