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SST Committee Members Introduce the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act of 2017, EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2017

Mar 6, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, today introduced the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act of 2017 (HONEST Act).  Simultaneously, U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), and original cosponsor Chairman Lamar Smith, introduced 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: “An open and honest scientific process is long overdue at EPA. American taxpayers have often had to foot the bill for regulations and rules based on hidden science that has not been available for review by the public. We want to change that. The HONEST Act of 2017 is about ensuring public access to the very science that underpins rules and regulations by EPA. This bill would prohibit any future regulations from taking effect unless the underlying scientific data is public. 

“The Science Advisory Board at EPA has the opportunity to include a more balanced group of scientists to assist EPA in fulfilling its core mission.  With the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2017, conflicts of interest will be reduced. This bill would ensure that scientists advising EPA on regulatory decisions are not the same scientists receiving EPA grants.  As both of these bills move forward, our committee is working hard to preserve EPA’s scientific integrity and to help strengthen EPA’s internal review process.”

Vice Chairman Frank Lucas: “On numerous occasions we have seen how government regulations from agencies like EPA can impact the lives of millions of Americans, whether it’s increasing the cost of monthly utility bills or diminishing the availability of job opportunities. Nearly four decades ago, Congress created the Science Advisory Board (SAB) to look over the shoulder of the EPA and ensure sound science is guiding their rules and policy. Today we introduced the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2017 to strengthen the accountability and transparency of the SAB by eliminating potential conflicts of interest, requiring members of the board to disclose their professional backgrounds, and opening the board’s research to public review. Science and data are invaluable tools in helping us navigate complex policy issues, and I believe this bill will help restore credibility and trust in a federal agency that lost much of it in the last eight years.” 

Background:

The HONEST Act of 2017 affirms laws prohibiting the disclosure of confidential or proprietary information. The bill is not retroactive; it applies only to new, 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 restores scientific integrity to the process and independence to the Board.  The bill guarantees a well-balanced expert panel, increased transparency, and public participation to empower the SAB to provide meaningful and unbiased scientific advice.

To view draft bill text of the HONEST Act of 2017, click here.

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

115th Congress