To help fulfill his promise to reduce government-imposed burdens on business, President Donald Trump directed every federal agency to establish regulatory reform task forces with the goal of identifying regulations issued by the agency that:
- Eliminate jobs, or inhibit job creation;
- Are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective;
- Impose costs that exceed benefits;
- Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies;
- Rely in whole or in part on data, information, or methods that are not publicly available or that are insufficiently transparent to meet the standard for reproducibility; or
- Derive from outdated Presidential orders.
Several federal agencies – including the Department of Commerce (DoC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – asked the public to help by identifying regulations that unnecessarily burden business. PCTC responded to the DoC’s and EPA’s requests for information by explaining the inadequacy of existing remedies available to sealcoat manufacturers and their suppliers and customers that have been burdened by the unaccountable actions of a non-regulatory federal agency - the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) - that might best be described as “pre-regulatory” or “regulation by information.”
In its comments to the DoC, PCTC wrote:
In summary, PCTC has made sure that USGS management is aware of the demonstrable flaws, manipulations, and other scientific deficiencies of their advocacy research, but our concerns have been either ignored or been shown the back of USGS’s hand. The USGS has used its web site and its communications arms to promote the advocacy research, in full knowledge of the questions that have been raised, but without any acknowledgement that there even is a question.
PCTC believes that the USGS, as an agency of the U.S. government, has the responsibility not to use its perceived authority, or allow that authority to be used, to make false representations about a product that has been used safely for over 50 years, and to recognize that the science promulgated in its name does not comport either with the findings of scientists with expertise that the USGS does not have or with good scientific practice. PCTC believes that the USGS has the responsibility to correct the public record and to explain to those state and local governments that have already banned or are thinking about banning RTS that there is no sound scientific basis for those bans. Finally, PCTC believes that USGS must comply with FOIA and produce the information withheld from PCTC which, consistent with every recognized scientific practice, would allow PCTC to attempt fully to replicate and reproduce the conclusions reached by USGS in its studies.
PCTC asked for the DoC’s assistance by working
with USGS … to evaluate, independently and externally and with stakeholder involvement, the entire body of RTS-related research that the USGS has generated over the past decade-plus.
In its comment letter to EPA, PCTC pointed out that EPA is using flawed advocacy research in “pre-regulatory” or “regulation by information” of its own by disseminating the USGS’ unwarranted conclusions on the Agency’s website.
You can read the full comment letters on PCTC’s website.