GOP looks to force reforms on EPA's Science Advisory Board

"The need for high-quality, independent scientific advice from the Science Advisory Board has never been more important, as President Obama's EPA pursues sweeping new regulations based on controversial scientific assertions and conclusions," said House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-Texas), the lead sponsor of the bill. "This bill contains basic, common-sense reforms to deal with legitimate concerns about balance, impartiality, independence, and public participation."

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Under Hall's EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act, H.R. 6564, the Board could not have more than 10 percent of its members be current recipients of EPA grants. It would also require members of the Board to disclose any potential conflicts of interest that may exist between themselves and the work being done by the Board.

It would also require panels to allow that dissenting panelists have their views known, and require that the Board publish all reports and recommendations. And it would set up a requirement that the Board establish a "public information-gathering session" before conducting "major advisory activities."

Republicans spent considerable time during the 112th Congress looking to delay or block various EPA rules that they said would hurt companies in the name of pursuing questionable environmental benefits.

Other sponsors of the bill are committee members Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Dan Benishek (R-Mich.).