White House threatens to veto House EPA bills

The White House threatened Monday to veto a trio of House bills aimed at restricting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to issue new regulations.

The threats released Monday apply to the Secret Science Reform Act sponsored by Rep. David SchweikertDavid SchweikertDeficit hawks voice worry over direction of tax plan FreedomWorks: Tax reform failure could be 'end of GOP as we know it' Freedom Caucus backs three debt ceiling options MORE (R-Ariz), EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act sponsored by Rep. Chris StewartChris StewartGOP rep would ‘recommend’ not paying much attention to Trump tweets California Democrat seeks to win fight on war powers Surprise war vote points to shift in GOP MORE (R-Utah) and the the Promoting New Manufacturing Act sponsored by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.).

Each bill would put new requirements on the EPA in order for it to update rules, impeding its ability to protect the environment and public health, the White House said.

Supporters of the science bills contend that the EPA conducts the research for its regulations in a secretive fashion that doesn’t allow public participation. Republicans have charged the EPA with relying on “secret science” for its rules, and one of the bills would prohibit rules from being written unless the agency publicizes the research.

The “secret science” bill “could be used to prevent EPA from finalizing regulations until legal challenges about the legitimate withholding of certain scientific and technical information are resolved,” the White House said.

“The bill also could prevent EPA from making crucial decisions, including those concerning the cleanup of contaminated sites, if the data supporting those decisions cannot, for legitimate reasons, be made publicly available,” it continued.

The Science Advisory Board bill, while seeking to improve the external board the advises the EPA on its rules, would in fact make it less effective, the White House said.

The bill “would negatively affect the appointment of experts and would weaken the scientific independence and integrity of the SAB,” officials said.

“For example, the bill would impose a hiring quota for SAB members based on employment by a State, local, or tribal government as opposed to scientific expertise.”

The manufacturing bill would prevent updates to air pollution rules until the EPA takes certain “arbitrary and unnecessary” steps, the White House said, “and would increase uncertainty for businesses and states.”

The House plans to vote on all three bills this week.

The White House said that if the bills were passed by the House and Senate, Obama’s advisors would recommend that he veto them.