Senators vote to block EPA’s use of ‘secret science’

Senators vote to block EPA’s use of ‘secret science’

A Senate committee voted Tuesday to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using ‘secret science’ to back its regulations.

The vote in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee came after the GOP-controlled House repeatedly approved the bill. It previous was stalled in the Democratic-majority Senate.

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Under the measure, which President Obama has threatened to veto if the Senate passes it, the EPA would only be allowed to use scientific studies whose detailed results are posted publicly online.

“EPA has a long history of relying on science that was not created by the agency itself. This often means that the science is not available to the public, and therefore cannot be reproduced and verified,” Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoPruitt to testify on EPA agenda at House, Senate hearings Overnight Energy: Senate confirms top EPA air regulator | Feds to roll back emissions rule for big trucks | Defense bill mandates climate study Senate confirms top air regulator at EPA MORE (R-Wyo.), the bill’s sponsor, said at a committee hearing.

“What this bill is trying to accomplish is to make sure that we strengthen the scientific information the EPA uses to make regulations, guidance and assessments,” he continued.

But Democrats said the bill would unnecessary cut in half the studies that the EPA can use, because research is often uses proprietary, health-related or otherwise restricted data.

“This bill would force them to use whatever science was available after legal challenges generate from the broad language of this legislation,” said Sen. Edward MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenate Democrats introduce bill to block Trump's refugee ban FCC votes to limit program funding internet access for low-income communities Two GOP senators oppose Trump’s EPA chemical safety nominee MORE (D-Mass.)

“We should be working to strengthen the scientific information the EPA uses to protect public health and improve air and water quality, not limiting it, as this bill does.”

Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerBarbara Boxer recounts harassment on Capitol Hill: ‘The entire audience started laughing’ 100 years of the Blue Slip courtesy Four more lawmakers say they’ve been sexually harassed by colleagues in Congress MORE (D-Calif.) said the bill is “insane. It’s just a joke.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called it “laughable.”

The panel voted against a pair of amendments from Markey that would have replaced the public access provision with disclosures about the funding behind research or a peer-review requirement.

It approved by voice vote a Boxer amendment to disapprove of policies that prohibit state employees from using terms like “climate change” and “global warming.” Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) have been accused of instituting such policies in certain state agencies.