By Zack Colman - 08/01/13 03:27 PM EDT
She added, for the record, that, "To so blatantly be doing the bidding of the polluting industries is simply mind-boggling. If the data is not going to be provided to industry, either directly or indirectly, members need to know to whom you will be sending it.”
Democrats are concerned the move could violate federal privacy laws by identifying personal health information about people who participated in the studies. Republicans said such records would be "de-identified" once released into the public sphere.
"During the meeting, Chairman Smith made clear that any personal health information that is in the data will be protected and removed before the data is made public. But he also made clear that the American people and American taxpayers who funded these studies have a right to see the information and determine whether the EPA is basing its regulations on sound science," a GOP committee aide told The Hill in an email.
The overall measure speaks to larger concerns Republicans have about transparency at the EPA.
“It is irresponsible that a federal agency supported by taxpayer dollars has refused to hand over this data,” Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.) said during the markup.
Smith defended the resolution, saying that, “There are any number of scientists and scientific organizations who are interested in looking at the data and engaging in their own independent analysis.”
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said the GOP-backed bill would “allow a fishing expedition” for data at the EPA by subjecting any number of personnel and studies to subpoenas.
Johnson compared the effort to the tobacco industry’s attempts to obtain data from the American Cancer Society in attempts to discredit the links between smoking and lung cancer.
“Thankfully, they were largely unsuccessful. And I hope today’s efforts will also fail. I want to be clear — this is not appropriate oversight. This is not an appropriate role for this committee,” she said.
— This story was updated at 3:32 p.m.