Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today submitted the following statement for the record during debate on the American Energy Solutions for Lower Costs and More American Jobs Act (H.R. 2).

Chairman Smith: “Today we consider H.R. 2, “the American Energy Solutions for Lower Costs and More American Jobs Act.”  I thank the gentleman from Nebraska, Mr. Terry, for his initiative on this bill.

Title III of this bill includes H.R. 2850, “the Hydraulic Fracturing Study Improvement Act” that was reported out of the Science Committee last year.

The EPA has been conducting a “Study of the Potential Impact of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources” since 2010. 

Unfortunately, the EPA’s track record of sloppy and secret science and rushed conclusions suggest this study will be yet another attempt to justify new regulations to derail our shale gas revolution and the manufacturing renaissance. 

The Science Committee language in Title III of this bill addresses a fundamental flaw in EPA’s hydraulic fracturing study design.  Specifically, the current study is focused on a search for possible problems with hydraulic fracturing instead of identifying what is likely or probable. 

EPA’s own Science Advisory Board has repeatedly recommended that the Agency focus on probabilities and uncertainties in its work.

The Science Committee provision addresses those concerns, and requires EPA to follow basic, objective scientific processes in carrying out its study.  It also requires peer-review of any final or interim report before its release.

Problems with this study underscore EPA’s lack of transparency and serious flaws in its peer review process.  EPA’s conclusions are used to justify billions of dollars in regulations.  Science that supports public regulations should be public, not secret.  

The Science Advisory Board was created to provide independent scientific advice to Congress and the EPA.  However, EPA has hijacked this process. 

EPA cherry-picked the reviewers.  Among the 22 member Advisory Board panel that the EPA created to look at EPA’s hydraulic fracturing research, no member had experience in hydraulic fracturing or had an understanding of current industry practices.

The scientific panel that reviews EPA studies should be balanced and unbiased.  And the data behind EPA regulations should be available for independent scientific review.  These principles cannot be compromised. 

I hope to bring H.R. 4012, “the Secret Science Reform Act,” and H.R. 1422, “the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2013,” to the floor this fall to address these systemic problems.

The provisions in H.R. 2 are an important first step in ensuring the EPA adheres to these principles in their report on hydraulic fracturing. 

More comprehensive EPA scientific reform is the next step we must take in the public’s interest.  We cannot afford to wait.

I urge my colleagues to support this bill and I yield back the balance of my time.