Republican lawmakers introduced new legislation Tuesday aimed at shining a light on the science behind the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulations.
Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoOvernight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Manchin, Barrasso announce bill to revegetate forests after devastating fires Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs MORE (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Lamar SmithLamar Seeligson SmithEx-officers acquitted in beating of Black colleague who was undercover at St. Louis protests Bottom line In partisan slugfest, can Chip Roy overcome Trump troubles? MORE (R-Tenn.) said the EPA relies heavily on “secret science” to justify its regulations, and the public should be able to scrutinize the research.
“For years, the EPA has based its rules and regulations on secret data that they refuse to publish and make available to all Americans,” Barrasso said in a statement.
“Since the American people bear the expensive costs of EPA red tape, they deserve to have access to the science behind these regulations. Our bill will force the Obama administration to finally start living up to its claim of being the ‘most transparent administration’ in history,” he said.
Under the legislation, the EPA would not be allowed to write any regulations unless they’re based on the “best available science” that is made publicly available on the web.
It revives a common talking point among Republicans, who say that the EPA needs to be more transparent about what goes into its rules.
“The data that underpins EPA regulations should be available to the public so that independent scientists have a fair chance to verify findings,” said Smith, chairman of the House Science Committee.
“Our freedoms are best protected when citizens are informed,” he said. “The Secret Science Reform Act would prohibit the EPA from using science they aren’t willing to make public.”
The House passed a similar bill last year, but it did not move through the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The Obama administration previously threatened to veto the legislation, saying it would hamper development of regulations, while defending itself against the “secret science” charge.
“If EPA is being accused of 'secret science' because we rely on real scientists to conduct research, and independent scientists to peer review it, and scientists who’ve spent a lifetime studying the science to reproduce it — then so be it,” EPA head Gina McCarthy said last year.