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Committee Investigation into EPA's Secret Science


Background on EPA Subpoena Resolution: Over the past two years, the Science, Space, and Technology Committee has repeatedly requested that the EPA release the data it uses to justify virtually every Clean Air Act regulation proposed and finalized by the Obama administration.  As one example, by its own estimates the EPA’s proposed limits on ozone will cost taxpayers $90 billion per year, making it the most costly regulation the federal government has ever issued. Some of the data in question is up to 30-years-old. 

In September 2011, the EPA’s then-Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy committed to make the data sets available to the Committee. The Committee has sent numerous letters following up on the request and Ms. McCarthy’s promise to make the data available.  Even though Ms. McCarthy now leads the agency, she has yet to provide the promised data to the Committee.

On August 1, 2013, the Science Committee voted to authorize Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) to issue a subpoena to the EPA to obtain the data in question.   This was the first congressional subpoena the Science Committee has issued in 21 years.

Chairman Smith: “This subpoena could have been avoided.  Unfortunately, we’ve been put in this position by an agency that willfully disregards congressional requests and makes its rules using undisclosed data. After two years of failing to respond, it’s clear that the EPA is not going to give the American people what they deserve—the truth about regulations.

“The EPA should not base its regulations on secret data. By denying the Committee’s request, the agency prevents Congress from fulfilling its oversight responsibilities and denies the American people the ability to verify EPA’s claims. The EPA’s lack of cooperation contributes to the suspicion that the data sets do not support the agency’s actions. The American people deserve all of the facts and have a right to know whether the EPA is using good science.”

Under the EPA’s current process, only a select few who support the EPA’s agenda are authorized to access and analyze the data. But this ignores the need for congressional oversight of taxpayer-funded research. During the Committee meeting, Chairman Smith made clear that any personal health information that is in the data will be protected and removed before the data is made public. He asserted that ensuring public access to taxpayer funded data that is used in regulations is good science and good government.

Subpoena Information

Authorize the Issuance of Subpoenas

Press Resources

Smith: EPA Stands in Default of Subpoena - September 3, 2013

Smith to Johnson: EPA Transparency is Good Government - August 8, 2013

Smith Subpoenas EPA's Secret Science - August 1, 2013

Smith Responds to Ranking Member's Questions, Reiterates Need to Subpoena EPA Secret Science -
July 31, 2013

Committee Threatens to Subpoena EPA Secret Science - July 22, 2013

Smith, Stewart Demand Release of EPA Secret Data Behind Air Regulations - June 12, 2013

Witnesses Say EPA's Forthcoming Ozone Standards Impossible to Meet - June 12, 2013

Smith, Vitter Reiterate Call for Transparency and Release of EPA Secret Data - March 4, 2012

Committee Leaders Call on Administration to Release Secret Data Behind Looming Air Rule - December 13, 2012

Republicans Question President's Science Policies and Priorities - June 20, 2012

Republicans Critical of President's FY13 R&D Budget Proposal - February 17, 2012

Witnesses Agree: Data Used in EPA Regulatory Decisions Should be Made Publicly Available - February 3, 2012

Committee Chairmen Highlight Unanswered Questions about Major Forthcoming EPA Rule - December 13, 2011

Harris and Broun Question Administration's Environmental Cost-Benefit Analyses -
November 15, 2011

Chairman Harris Calls for Transparency in EPA Health Data - September 23, 2011

Witnesses Denounce EPA Cross-State Air Pollution Rule - September 15, 2011

Correspondence with EPA

Chairman Smith Letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy re EPA Subpoena - September 3, 2013

Chairman Smith and Chairman Stewart Subpoena to the EPA - August 1, 2013

EPA McCabe Response to Chairman Smith June 12, 2013, June 22, 2013 Letters - July 30, 2013

Chairman Smith and Chairman Stewart Letter to EPA re: Threat of Subpoena - July 22, 2013

EPA Perciasepe Response to Senator Vitter March 4, 2013 Letter - July 9, 2013

Chairman Smith and Chairman Stewart Letter to EPA Perciasepe - June 12, 2013

EPA Ganesan Reponse to Chairman Smith and Sen. Vitter March 4, 2013 Letter - April 10, 2013

Senator Vitter and Chairman Smith Letter to EPA McCarthy - March 4, 2013

Rep. Hall, Smith, and Harris Letter to EPA Jackson - December 13, 2012

EPA McCarthy Reponse to Rep. Harris September 22, 2011 Letter - June 7, 2012

OSTP Dr. Holdren Response to Rep. Smith February 17, 2012 Request - February 28, 2012

OIRA/OMB Sunstein Response to Rep. Harris November 15, 2011, December 12, 2011 Letter - December 22, 2011

Rep. Hall, Harris, and Broun Letter to OIRA/OMB Sunstein - December 12, 2011

EPA McCarthy Response to Rep. Harris September 22, 2011 Letter - November 30, 2011 

Rep. Harris and Broun Letter to OIRA/OMB Sunstein - November 15, 2011

Rep. Harris Letter to EPA McCarthy - September 22, 2011


WSJ: Smith Opinion: The EPA's Game of Secret Science

More on Committee Investigation into EPA's Secret Science

Jul 9, 2015 Hearing

Examining EPA’s Regulatory Overreach

Hearing Charter

Jul 9, 2015 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing to receive testimony from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy on the agency’s overreaching regulatory agenda.

Jul 8, 2015 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – By voice vote, the House of Representatives yesterday adopted an amendment offered by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) to prohibit the EPA from basing regulations on research data that is not publicly available.

Aug 1, 2013 Markup

The Committee will meet to consider the following measures, and for other purposes:

Markup of H.R. 2850, the “EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Study Improvement Act”
Passed by a voice vote

        Amendment 020, offered by Mr. Bera (D-Cali.), Approved by a voice vote

Jun 20, 2012 Hearing

The Office of Science and Technology Policy:  Examining Priorities and Effectiveness of the Nation’s Science Policies 

Hearing Charter

Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX)

Feb 17, 2012 Hearing

An Overview of the Administration’s Federal Research and Development Budget for Fiscal Year 2013

Hearing Charter

Chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX)