H.R. 1030, Secret Science Reform Act of 2015

H.R. 1030

Secret Science Reform Act of 2015

Date
March 18, 2015 (114th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, March 18, 2015, the House will consider H.R. 1030, the Secret Science Reform Act, under a rule.  H.R. 1030 was introduced on February 24, 2015 by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, which ordered the bill reported by a vote of 16-11.[1]

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[1] See House Report 114-34, at 12.

Bill Summary

H.R. 1030 amends Section 6(b) of the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating a “covered action” unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support the action is: 1) the best available science; 2) specifically identified; and 3) publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results.[2]

H.R. 1030 is similar to H.R. 4012, the Secret Science Reform Act of 2014, which passed in the House on November 19, 2014 by a vote of 237-190.  (See Roll Call #528)

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[2] A “covered action” is defined as a “risk, exposure, or hazard assessment, criteria document, standard, limitation, regulation, regulatory impact analysis, or guidance.”

Background

“Science has been central to EPA’s mission and functions since its establishment in 1970,” describing it as “the backbone of the EPA’s decision-making.”[3]  EPA Administrators throughout the agency’s history have stressed the importance of transparency and public participation in decision-making.[4]  In 2010, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) echoed this sentiment, stating that “agencies should expand and promote access to scientific information by making it available online in open formats.”[5]  Despite strongly positioning themselves “in favor of openness and transparency regarding the science behind regulations, the Administration has yet to make public the scientific data that is behind numerous EPA regulations,” and numerous outside research have sought and been denied the data behind recent EPA decisions.[6]    As a result, it is not possible to effectively reproduce the scientific data used in order to promulgate regulations.  This legislation would require EPA to rely on the “best available science” and prohibit the EPA from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations without first providing the necessary scientific data, in turn improving transparency and oversight of the EPA.

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[3] See House Report 114-34, at 2.
[4] See ld.
[5] See Id. at 3.  See also:
ttp://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/scientific-integrity-memo-12172010.pdf
[6] See Id. at 4.

Cost

A CBO cost estimate is currently unavailable.

Amendments

1)         Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) Amendment #2 – Amendment authorizes $250 million for each of fiscal years 2016 through.2019

2)         Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, III (D-MA) Amendment #1 – Amendment allows the EPA to use all peer-reviewed scientific publications.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.