Committee Threatens to Subpoena EPA Secret Science

Jul 22, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Chris Stewart (R-Utah) today sent a final letter to newly confirmed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy demanding the release of “secret science” that the agency has used as the basis of costly regulations.  The Committee has repeatedly requested the data EPA uses to justify virtually every Clean Air Act regulation proposed and finalized by the Obama Administration. 

“If EPA has nothing to hide, why not provide this information to Congress and the American people?,” Chairmen Smith and Stewart asked.  “We are concerned that EPA’s reluctance to respond to Congressional requests or to obtain and assess the data to assure the legitimacy of claimed benefits may reflect weaknesses in the studies…Recent claims by the agency that it is working to obtain the data from certain academic institutions ring hollow, given the years of delay and excuses.”

For more than two years, the Committee has sought access to the data, sending six letters to the EPA and other top administration officials. But the administration has refused to substantively respond to the request.  The data sets in question are used to justify major costly new air regulations. As one example, the EPA’s proposed limits on ozone are expected to be some of the most costly the federal government has ever issued. In the EPA assessment of this standard, it cited studies based upon these hidden data sets more than a thousand times.

“Despite a commitment you made in testimony before this Committee more than 20 months ago [VIDEO], and multiple requests since that time, EPA has failed to provide the information in a manner that would allow for independent scientific verification,” the lawmakers wrote. “Given the central role of these publically-funded analyses in providing justification for major, costly EPA regulations, it is imperative that this information be open and transparent. The American people are going to be forced to foot the bill. They have a right to know whether EPA’s new rules are based on sound science or a partisan agenda.”

Chairmen Smith and Stewart gave the EPA one last chance to comply with the request, saying that “failure to provide the requested documents will result in a subpoena to ensure disclosure.”  The Chairmen demand EPA provides the data by July 31, 2013 to avoid a subpoena.

In July, President Obama gave a speech proclaiming that “for the first time in history, we’ve opened up huge amounts of government data to the American people, and put it on the Internet for free.” In that spirit, this administration should make public the data that underlies these critical taxpayer-funded studies.

The full letter can be found HERE.