The deep science state

Since President Trump took office in 2017, environmental protection has been under assault. As of December, 2019, the administration had completed at least 58 rollbacks of environmental rules.

The good news is that government scientists and lawyers are inserting statistics and data about the dire consequences of proposed rule changes into the technical documents that accompany them. Those figures could help environmental groups challenge the new rules in the courts.

For example, in the EPA’s analysis of an Obama-era rule that limits the release of fine soot, scientists included data showing that up to 12,150 lives could be saved if the rule were tightened. (The administration doesn’t want to tighten the rule.) When the Trump administration released a proposal to reverse emissions regulations for coal-burning power plants, the draft included an analysis revealing that the changes would lead to 1,400 premature deaths per year.

There’s not much the Trump administration can do to stop these fact-forward disclosures. In many cases, they are protected by federal law that prevents the government from altering or suppressing science.

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