"Democracy dies in darkness," we are told.
But you know what doesn't die in darkness?
Why, it positively thrives in it, like mushrooms and film noir.
The proposed rule would require that any research used to support a given regulation must make the underlying data supporting its conclusions available for public scrutiny.
This attack on the enduring principle of scientific opaqueness is a threat to us all, for it is only through the secret exchange of data among a chosen few that true science can exist.
Hence the resistance to permitting people who are not internal EPA scientists access to the data used in support of their regulatory activities.
We know this is a bad idea because internal EPA scientists whose work would be exposed to greater public review are against it.
"Their own scientists said this is just a bad idea.... don't you think the scientists might know something about that?" said Andrew Rosenberg, director at the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Why yes, I do. I have no doubt that the EPA's scientists know something about the consequences of having their work made available to the people under whose consent they operate. They know quite a lot, I would suspect.
Rest assured, it is not a problem.
[Andrew Rosenberg, director at the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists] said peer reviewers don't need to look at raw data, and instead look at basic methods, statistics and results to see if they support the studies' conclusion.
As a non-scientist, I did not fully appreciate how unimportant data is to science.
As long as their math is right, what does it matter what numbers were used? All that matters are the results.
And they'll let you know what those are.
[Rosenberg added] he doubts members of the public will go through millions of lines of raw data to evaluate EPA's work.
Exactly, we must not let anyone see this data, besides they don't really want to see it anyway.
Rosenberg sees the proposed rule as a way to slow the regulatory process for future administrations.
"All this is is litigation bait. They want to provide more and more opportunity for industry to challenge rules and tie things up in court," he said.
"People will actually be able to take us to court if we don't follow this regulation."
The last thing we need in this country is affording people the ability to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
That's just un-American.
Senator Tom Carper of Delaware called this effort to ensure greater access to scientific data,
"One last gasp of science denial."
Yes because nothing says "science denial" quite like affording people the opportunity to see more of the science.
The rule has been one of the top concerns for public health advocates and environmentalists who say it will restrict the EPA's ability to consider landmark public health research and other studies that do not make their underlying data public.
It is likely that a Biden administration will move swiftly to overturn this effort to undermine science and save us from this momentary flirtation with transparency.