What happened: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to carry out analyses that would have assessed whether the health of children would be compromised by a proposed rule that would have allowed the sale of “glider trucks,” new trucks that have old, highly polluting engines in them. The agency is currently required to conduct such analyses on “economically significant” regulatory actions to measure their impacts. According to the EPA’s inspector general’s report, EPA officials were well aware that the proposed rule on glider trucks would constitute an “economically significant” action; however, then-administrator Scott Pruitt directed the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation to develop the proposed rule without conducting the required analyses on children’s health.
Why it matters: By hindering the development of scientific analyses required by law, Pruitt placed political considerations above the health and safety of children. Children are vulnerable to effects of air pollution, so when the EPA failed to carry out required analyses on a rule that will undoubtedly increase traffic-related air pollution, we are left in the dark as how our children will be affected by the rule. Our government has a duty to protect the health and safety of its people, and by obstructing the ability of science to inform whether a proposed rule will harm children, the EPA has failed to live up to its mission statement of reducing environmental risks by using the best scientific information available.
Learn more about how the EPA tried to allow dirtier trucks on our roads without studying whether that would be bad for children’s health, and how the Trump administration’s anti-science actions is harming children’s health.