A bill to force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make its data more available passed the House Science Committee on a party line vote last week. HR 4012 would make the data underpinning EPA regulations more accessible to the public.
“The EPA’s regulatory process is both hidden and flawed,” said Science Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX). “Every major air quality regulation proposed by this administration has been justified by nontransparent data and unverifiable claims.”
The “Secret Science Reform Act” is sponsored by Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ) and 46 Republican cosponsors.
Democrats objected to the bill on the grounds that the legislation would undermine the confidentially of public health data.
Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) said that the bill would provide inappropriate access to data from studies conducted by the American Cancer Society and Harvard University.
“Since these studies involved hundreds of thousands of human volunteers who submitted sensitive personal health information to the researchers, the raw data is stringently protected from public disclosure,” Johnson said. “The EPA explained this to the chairman, but he nonetheless issued a subpoena to the EPA administrator to turn over data that EPA had no legal right to access and for which there are strict legal prohibitions against public disclosure.”
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