House passes bill to reform EPA science panel

The House on Tuesday passed legislation to overhaul the Environmental Protection Agency's Scientific Advisory Board.

Passed 229-191, the measure, H.R. 1422, would change the process of selecting members of the Scientific Advisory Board and the terms of office.

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Among other provisions, the measure would require the Scientific Advisory Board, which consults the EPA on its regulations, to have at least ten percent of members from state, local or tribal governments. 

The bill is part of the House GOP's package of legislation this week to limit the EPA's ability to issue new regulations. Later this week, the House will vote on bills to require the EPA to make public its scientific data to justify regulations and limit updates to air pollution rules.

Rep. Chris StewartChris StewartTensions rise over land in the age of Obama Overnight Energy: GOP senators push to block climate fund money GOP lawmakers hit EPA on coal, mine waste spill MORE (R-Utah), the measure's sponsor, said the measure would ensure the board is held accountable. 

"There is a process that is broken. And it's through this bill we can not only improve that process, but also restore trust between the American people and the federal government," Stewart said.

Democrats said the measure would hinder the board's effectiveness and compromise its members' scientific expertise.

"While it sounds good to say you are increasing transparency, in reality this simply strengthens the role of special interests' biased interests in the process," said Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.).

The White House issued a veto threat on Monday against the bill, saying it would "negatively affect the appointment of experts and would weaken the scientific independence and integrity of the SAB."

- Timothy Cama contributed. 

 

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