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Smith Amendment Demands Open Science at EPA

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.

Chairman Smith: “This amendment simply requires the Environmental Protection Agency to base its regulations on publicly-available data that can be verified.  Why would the Administration want to hide this information from the American people? Many Americans are unaware that some of the EPA’s most expensive and burdensome regulations, such as its proposed climate and ozone rules, are based on underlying data that not even the EPA has seen. This amendment ensures that the decisions that affect every American are based on independently-verified, unbiased scientific research, instead of on secret data that is hidden from the American people. That’s the scientific method.

“This amendment also assures that the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) is able to provide meaningful, balanced, and independent assessments of the science behind the EPA regulations. The EPA frequently undermines the SAB’s independence and prevents it from being able to provide advice to Congress. As a result, the valuable advice these experts can provide is often ignored or silenced. The EPA has a responsibility to be open and transparent with the people it serves and whose money its uses.”

Smith’s amendment follows a spate of recent criticism over EPA transparency. For example, the Center for Effective Government gave the EPA a grade of “D” in its most recent report for poor performance in providing access to information.

The House Science Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 A.M. to receive testimony from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on the EPA’s regulatory agenda. 

114th Congress