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SST Committee Approves the HONEST Act, EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act

Mar 9, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology approved H.R. 1430, the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act of 2017 (HONEST Act), and the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2017.  Both bills promote an open and honest Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as preserving the integrity of the scientific review process.  Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Vice Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) praised the passage of the two bills:

Chairman Lamar Smith: “Since American taxpayers foot the bill for EPA regulations, they deserve to have access to the science that supposedly justifies these regulations.  The HONEST Act requires the EPA to base its decisions on information available to scientists and the American public.  The days of “trust-me” science are over. If EPA regulations are based on legitimate science, then there should be no reason to deny Americans access to the data.  This bill restores confidence in the EPA rulemaking process.  EPA will now be able to concentrate its limited resources on quality science that all researchers can examine. 

“Much-needed reforms to EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) will strengthen the public’s trust in the science that EPA uses to support its regulations.  This valuable bill allows for increased public participation in the EPA science review process and requires the SAB to be more responsive to the public and to Congress.  Increased transparency, fairness and balance in EPA’s SAB is long overdue.  I appreciate Mr. Lucas’s introduction of SAB reform legislation.”

Vice Chairman Frank Lucas: “The Science Advisory Board (SAB) provides valuable input used to justify policy decisions that impact the lives of millions of Americans.  Unfortunately, limited public participation, EPA interference with expert advice, and conflicts of interest threaten to undermine the Board’s independence and credibility.  It’s also troubling that states like my home state of Oklahoma have no Board members, even though we play a prominent role in the agriculture and energy industries, both of which are heavily regulated by the EPA.”

“The committee’s passage of the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act today recognizes the essential role science should play to inform policy debates.  The safeguards provided in this bill will restore the SAB as an important defender of scientific integrity and promote more credible and balanced policy outcomes from the EPA.”

Background:

The HONEST Act of 2017 was introduced by Smith and cosponsored by Lucas, Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Randy Weber (R-Texas), Brian Babin (R-Texas), Gary Palmer (R-Ala.), Clay Higgins (R-La.), Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), Ralph Abraham (R-La.), Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Neal Dunn (R-Fla.), Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Bruce Westerman (R-Ariz.), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Don Young (R-Alaska), Joe Barton (R-Texas), Stevan Pearce (R-N.M.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Scott Tipton (R-Colo.), and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).  This bill affirms laws prohibiting the disclosure of confidential or proprietary information. The bill does not require retroactive action; it focuses on future regulations issued by the agency.  The bill forges a new path forward embracing scientific integrity and open government. 

The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2017 was introduced by Lucas and cosponsored by Smith, Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Randy Weber (R-Texas), Brian Babin (R-Texas), Clay Higgins (R-La.), Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), Ralph Abraham (R-La.), Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Neal Dunn (R-Fla.), Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Don Young (R-Alaska), Joe Barton (R-Texas), Stevan Pearce (R-N.M.), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Scott Tipton (R-Colo.), and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). This bill restores scientific integrity to the process and independence to the Board.  The bill guarantees a well-balanced expert panel, increased transparency, public participation to empower the SAB to provide meaningful and unbiased scientific advice, and better responsiveness to the public and Congress.

To view text of the HONEST Act of 2017click here.

To view text of the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2017click here.

115th Congress