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Committee Presses for Documents on EPA’s “Black Box” IRIS Program

Jun 3, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) sent a letter yesterday to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy threatening use of the compulsory process if the Agency does not produce requested documents on EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS).

The IRIS program supports the mission of EPA to protect human health and the environment by providing EPA’s scientific position on the potential human health effects from exposure to chemicals in the environment. However, it appears that the program suffers from mismanagement and a lack of transparency. Since 2008, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has included the IRIS program on the High Risk List. IRIS also failed to implement recommendations made by the National Academy of Science (NAS). Yesterday’s letter is part of the Committee’s continued oversight of the IRIS program’s ability to complete sound assessments in a timely manner, and of the procedures and protocols followed by the program.

On May 10th, the Committee wrote the EPA requesting documents and communications related to the IRIS program by May 24, 2016. To date, the Agency has not provided any documents and communications related to the Committee’s request, nor has the Agency communicated with the Committee its intent to respond to the request.

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Given the Committee’s responsibility to ensure the soundness and transparency of EPA’s process of providing a scientific position on the potential human health effects from exposure to chemicals in the environment, it is imperative that documents and communications responsive to the Committee’s request be provided. Unfortunately, the EPA’s failure to even respond to the Committee’s letter is just another example of its pattern of unresponsiveness to this Committee’s inquiries.”    

114th Congress