April 28, 2015
Senate Advances Bill to Ensure Open EPA Science
Senate EPW Committee passed Secret Science Reform Act
WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and David Vitter (R-LA) praised the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee for passing the Secret Science Reform Act (S. 544). Barrasso, Vitter and EPW Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) introduced the bill in February to ensure future Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations are based on the best available science. Similar legislation passed the House in the 113th Congress with bipartisan support.
“As a doctor, I know that the best data and research are thoroughly tested, reproducible and publicly available,” said Barrasso. “Today the Committee voted to require the EPA to give Americans direct access to the science used to justify regulations that impact everything from jobs to our environment. Our bill will give Americans more confidence that the EPA’s policies will deliver the environmental and public health benefits that the agency has promised.”
“EPA has a bad habit of using ‘secret science’ to justify their needless and job destroying regulations, which is why passing this legislation is so important,” said Vitter. “Moving forward with this legislation will hold EPA accountable to using the best available science in an open, transparent manner – which is one step closer to how the federal government should run.”
The White House has previously voiced support for regulatory transparency and making scientific and technical information accessible. In accordance with White House recommendations, the Secret Science Reform Act addresses these issues while also protecting personal and confidential information. This common-sense approach to regulatory science is consistent with the data access requirements of major scientific journals and the promises of this administration.
The Secret Science Reform Act would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or not reproducible.
More specifically, the legislation requires that:
1) The EPA Administrator shall not propose, finalize, or disseminate a covered action unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support the covered action is-
a) specifically identified and
b) publicly available in a manner that is sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results
2) There be no public dissemination of information that is prohibited by law.
In addition to Senators Barrasso, Vitter, and Inhofe, Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Deb Fischer (R-NE), and Jim Risch (R-ID) are co-sponsors of the Secret Science Reform Act.