Senate GOP: EPA driven by politics, not science

Senate GOP: EPA driven by politics, not science
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Senate Republicans charged Wednesday that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) relies too heavily on politics in its regulations and not enough on science.

The accusation is one of the main reasons that the GOP is backing the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act, which would overhaul the membership and operation of the EPA’s main outside boards for scientific advice and for guidance on air pollution rules.

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“The EPA is to rely on this advice to assist them in crafting and issuing appropriate environmental regulations,” said Sen. Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsThe Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate Senate braces for brawl over Trump's spy chief Overnight Defense: Esper sworn in as Pentagon chief | Confirmed in 90-8 vote | Takes helm as Trump juggles foreign policy challenges | Senators meet with woman accusing defense nominee of sexual assault MORE (R-S.D.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee subpanel holding the hearing on the bill Wednesday.

“Unfortunately in recent years, EPA regulations have been driven not by science, but by politics.”

“The bottom line is that the EPA, at times, provides for excellent scientific reviews,” said Sen. John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanVA chief pressed on efforts to prevent veteran suicides McConnell ups pressure on White House to get a budget deal There is a severe physician shortage and it will only worsen MORE (R-Ark.), who sponsored the bill along with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). “Other times, there are gaps in the process. And sometimes, the review process is entirely bypassed or ignored.”

The House has passed similar legislation multiple times, though it had previously gone nowhere under Democratic control of the Senate.

The bill from Boozman and Manchin would require the EPA’s boards to respond to public comments submitted to them. They would also ahve to include as board members, representatives from various industries and levels of governments. Finally, they would be requried to publicly disclose certain financial information, including tax returns.

Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOvernight Energy: Trump sparks new fight over endangered species protections | States sue over repeal of Obama power plant rules | Interior changes rules for ethics watchdogs To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies Democrats, environmentalists blast Trump rollback of endangered species protections MORE (D-Mass.), the panel’s ranking member, said the legislation would “cripple the scientific process at the EPA” and called it a "solution in search of a problem.”

The financial disclosures would discourage participation in the board, while the comment responses would allow foes of the EPA’s rules to indefinitely hold up the process by submitting questions, Markey said.

“We might not agree on the regulations that EPA proposes, but we should all be able to agree that the scientists should be free to provide advice without onerous requirements and restrictions,” he said.

The Obama administration has threatened to veto the House’s legislation.

It has repeatedly said that the reforms are not necessary and would hamper the board’s important work.