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 SchweikertMembers of Congress demand new federal gender pay audit Republican candidate favored in Arizona special House election Ryan leaves legacy of tax cuts and deficits MORE (R-Ariz), EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act sponsored by Rep. Chris StewartChristopher (Chris) Douglas StewartGOP lawmaker: Trump could reverse policy of separating families if he wanted to Utah’s leaders try to control Endangered Species Act, take lazy way on traffic planning Koch-backed group to target some Republicans over spending vote in new ad campaign MORE (R-Utah) and the the Promoting New Manufacturing Act sponsored by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.).

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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.