Committee Approves Bill to Prohibit EPA from Using Secret Science

Jun 24, 2014

Washington, D.C. – The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology today approved the Secret Science Reform Act of 2014 (H.R. 4012) to require that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) base its regulations on data that is public.

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “The EPA’s regulatory process is both hidden and flawed.  It hides the data and then handpicks scientists to review it. The American people foot the bill for the EPA’s billion dollar regulations and they have the right to see the underlying data. If the EPA has nothing to hide, and if their data really justifies their regulations, why not make the information public? Data sharing is becoming increasingly common across scientific disciplines. The legislation requires that EPA science be available for validation and replication. Americans impacted by EPA regulations have a right to see the data and determine for themselves if the agency’s actions are based on sound science or a partisan agenda.  This bill ensures transparency and accountability. The American people deserve the facts.  And so does good policy.”

The Secret Science Reform Act was introduced by Environment Subcommittee Chairman David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) and has received letters of support from over 80 scientists and experts, 30 trade associations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the former head of EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, and the California Construction Trucking Association.

Subcommittee Chairman Schweikert: “Public policy by public data. Today, with the reporting of H.R. 4012, the Committee took a big step forward in ensuring transparency for the American people.”

The Secret Science Reform Act does not require any disclosure of confidential information.  It would only prohibit EPA’s use of secret science. A 2013 poll from the Institute of Energy Research found that 90 percent of Americans agree that studies and data used to make federal government decisions should be made public.

Provisions in the bill are consistent with the White House’s scientific integrity policy, the President’s Executive Order 13563, data access provisions of major scientific journals, the Bipartisan Policy Center and the recommendations of the Obama administration’s top science advisors.

For more information on today’s markup, including amendments and roll call votes, visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.