The House Science Subcommittee on Energy and Environment recently held a second hearing to consider possible changes to the Environmental Research, Development and Demonstration Act (ERDA), which authorizes EPA’s Office of Research and Development. The focus of the hearing shifted, however, when some Republicans on the committee criticized EPA’s scientific integrity, as well as questioned the need for tougher air quality standards and a new study of natural gas drilling. Chairman Andy Harris (R-MD) said: “Thirty years of congressional neglect and the aggressive and unjustified regulatory train wreck being pursued by this administration make the time ripe to evaluate reforms to environmental science at the agency.”
The ranking Democratic member on the panel, Representative Brad Miller of North Carolina, agreed with the intent of the meeting, noting that there is a need to update EPA’s science statute. ERDA has not been reauthorized since 1981. However, he argued that Republicans were more interested in using the hearings as “a platform for anti-regulatory talk points” rather than a serious discussion focused on gathering diverse perspectives for the agency’s science efforts.
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