SOT Offers Feedback on and Requests Support for Science in Government

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By Ronald Hines posted 04-09-2020 13:53

  

Throughout the year, SOT expresses support for efforts to strengthen science or the use of sound science in regulations and policy by adding its voice to those of like-minded colleagues in letters and other communications.

Over the last few weeks, SOT has submitted comments on two agency documents and has added its name to letters related to government appropriations. This blog contains a summary of those actions, which also are documented on the “Collaborative Impact” web page and the “SOT Statements” web page

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SOT Comments on the US EPA Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science Rule

Submitted on April 1, 2020, these comments expressed the Society’s concern regarding this rule, stating, in part: “the Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science Rule will create an ineffective bureaucracy that will have minimal impact on strengthening transparency in regulatory science and will only serve to curtail the Agency’s ability to respond to crises such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. As such, SOT strongly urges the US EPA to consider withdrawing the proposed rule.”

The comment period for the proposed Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science Rule by the US Environmental Protection Agency (40 CFR Part 30) (EPA–HQ–OA–2018–0259; FRL–10004–72– ORD) is open until May 18, 2020, if any SOT members are interested in submitting individual comments.

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SOT Comments on the NIH Strategic Plan Fiscal Year (FY) 2021–2025

In the comments submitted on March 24, 2020, SOT indicated its support of the NIH Strategic Plan Fiscal Year (FY) 2021–2025, although it urged the National Institutes of Health to consider the specific inclusion of the environmental sciences in Objective 1 (i.e., “Advancing Biomedical, Environmental and Behavioral Sciences”): “Doing so would highlight the importance of considering environmental contributions to disease, the existence of environmental science expertise within the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences), and, importantly, the opportunities for collaboration between the biomedical, environmental, and behavioral sciences in achieving the Objective 1 goals.” 

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Letters to the House and Senate Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies and Committees on Appropriations

Spearheaded by the American Academy of Pediatrics, letters were sent on March 23, 2020, to the leadership of the House and Senate Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies and the leadership of the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations to request funding and support of the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program in the House Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill. SOT was a signatory on these letters asking for $180 million in funding for ECHO, which funds research activities in more than 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico and brings together over 100 existing longitudinal cohort studies of children. As stated in the letter, “By using studies already in place and that have already proven successful, the ECHO program is delivering important insights into child development quickly and efficiently.”

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