Scientific endeavors at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are the subject of two pieces of legislation recently passed by the House of Representatives. The votes were largely along party lines, with only one Republican voting against both bills and a handful of Democrats voting in favor of the legislation.

If enacted, H.R. 4012 would prohibit EPA from proposing or finalizing any rule that utilizes research findings that are not “transparent or reproducible.” The “Secret Science Reform Act,” is sponsored by Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ) and arose because of a dispute between the House Science Committee and the EPA over availability of data underlying certain air pollution regulations. The agency would not turn over the data to lawmakers because university scientists, not EPA employees, collected it.

The “EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2013” would allow industry-associated scientists to join the agency’s Science Advisory Board. The bill would not bar “persons with substantial and relevant expertise” from serving on the Board “due to affiliation with or representation of entities that may have a potential interest in the Board’s advisory activities.” The bill would also direct the Science Advisory Board to “avoid making policy determinations or recommendations,” and to “distinguish between scientific determinations and policy advice.” H.R. 1422 is sponsored by Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT).

The White House has issued a veto threat against H.R. 1422.

 


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