Monday, December 22, 2014

New House Bill Would Limit Scientific Research Available to EPA

In November, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would limit the type of scientific Secret Science Reform Act of 2014 restricts the EPA from using any science that is "hidden and flawed," according to its sponsor, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX).
©Diadem Images/Jonathan P. Larsen
research available to EPA for use when creating regulations. The

Smith's colleagues say the bill is necessary to increase transparency so the public can independently check EPA's basis for creating and issuing regulations. Many within the scientific community have criticized the it, noting that the bill does not recognize why some scientific data are hidden and confidential, namely to protect the privacy of the voluntary test subjects, trade secrets and industry data. Republicans claim that the bill would not require personal data or trade secrets to be made public.

Currently, EPA uses more than 50,000 scientific studies per year. “In short, the bill would undermine EPA’s ability to protect the health of Americans, would impose expensive new mandates on EPA and could impose substantial litigation costs on the federal government,” a White House memo states. The memo warns that it could impede EPA’s reliance on the best available science. The White House has stated that if the bill is passed by the Senate, President Obama’s advisers would recommend a veto.