“[I delivered these comments at the July 28, 2021 webinar titled “Toxic Chemicals, Whistleblowers, and the Need for Reform at EPA”
cosponsored by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), NY PIRG, and EDF. [A recording of the webinar is available here.] The webinar followed on whistleblower disclosures in a complaint filed by PEER and the first in what will be a series of articles by Sharon Lerner in The Intercept detailing the allegations.]
have long described the EPA new chemicals program as a “black box.” For decades, it has operated almost entirely out of public view, in multiple respects:
- Excessive confidentiality claims and withholding of information from the public have been standard operating procedures.
- A purely bilateral mode of operating developed, where the only parties in the room are EPA and the chemical industry.
- The inability of the public to access information and meaningfully participate has severely limited public input and scrutiny.
- As a result, a highly insular, almost secretive program culture arose over time, one where EPA has often viewed its only stakeholders to be the companies seeking quick approval of their new chemicals.
- In sum, private interests trumped public interests.”