President Trump's war on regulatory science
- Author(s): Lin, AC
- et al.
© 2019 Harvard University Law School. All rights reserved. The Trump Administration has taken numerous actions that appear hostile to scientists, scientific research, and scientific data, leading some observers to assert that a war on science is underway. A more precise characterization is that the Trump Administration is engaging in a war on regulatory science, as these actions take aim specifically at regulatory science - i.e., knowledge production and synthesis carried out by EPA and other government agencies in the course of developing government regulations. The Administrative Procedure Act ("APA") and other laws may constrain some aspects of the war on regulatory science, provided that they are subject to judicial review. Internal administrative law and agency norms also can promote rule of law values, but their success depends largely on the good faith of executive branch actors and the willingness of Congress and the public to push back when norms of administrative legality are ignored. Absent such pushback, the Trump Administration's war on regulatory science could lead to irrational policies and threaten democratic governance.