WASHINGTON - U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) today sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt requesting a planned June 14 “EPA Scientific Integrity Annual Stakeholder Meeting” be made open to the public. EPA’s Scientific Integrity Official, Dr. Francesca Grifo, invited 45 individuals and organizations to a scientific integrity meeting whose overall mix skews decidedly toward pro-regulation environmental activism, which directly contradicts the EPA scientific integrity program’s mission.
“Unfortunately, despite this stated commitment to inclusivity, outreach, and a belief in the importance of promoting scientific integrity to build public support, the June 14 stakeholder meeting appears to be markedly exclusive. While Dr. Grifo included a number of respected scientists and non-political scientific organizations in her 45 meeting invitations, only one invitation was sent to an organization that is readily identifiable as representing the views and interests of industries impacted by agency decisions underpinned by EPA’s scientific programs. It does not appear that any state environmental or scientific officials received invitations to attend despite the clear impact of EPA’s scientific programs on regulations and other agency actions on states. On the other hand, a significant number of environmental and other left-leaning activist organizations apparently have received invitations,” the letter states.
During the previous administration, the committee documented numerous instances of the politicization of EPA scientific and regulatory processes.
Today’s letter can be found here.
WASHINGTON - U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement today after President Trump signed an executive order on strengthening federal cybersecurity networks and infrastructure.
Chairman Smith: “Cybersecurity is critical to national security, and today's executive order shows that President Trump is taking the matter seriously. This executive order gives federal agencies the right direction, goals, and priorities to keep America safe. Requiring federal agencies to use the NIST Framework will help ensure cyber readiness across the government. Legislation sponsored by Rep. Abraham and passed by the Science Committee, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, Assessment, and Auditing Act of 2017 (H.R. 1224), would help implement President Trump's order by requiring NIST to assist agencies in Framework adoption, assess agency preparedness, and evaluate agency effectiveness. I’m also pleased to see cyber-workforce development underscored in the executive order. To effectively manage cybersecurity, we need a talented and qualified workforce to protect our information and networks. Cyber-attacks are a growing threat to our country, to our economy, and to individuals’ privacy. I look forward to continuing to work with President Trump to ensure the government does all it can to help protect Americans from cyber threats.” Read More
WASHINGTON - The U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology today unanimously approved H.R. 2105, the “NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act of 2017,” introduced by Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.). This bill calls on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to provide small businesses with guidance to help them identify, assess, manage, and reduce their cybersecurity risks. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Rep. Webster praised the bill’s passage:
Chairman Smith: “The NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act will help ensure that our small businesses have the information they need to protect themselves from cyber-attacks. Many small businesses lack the expertise to successfully monitor and protect their computer systems, but NIST’s global cybersecurity expertise will assist small businesses in reducing their cybersecurity risks.
“We must ensure that small businesses, which employ nearly four and a half million workers in my home state and countless more across the country, have the tools they need to secure their systems and confidential information. I thank Congressman Webster for his leadership on this important issue and look forward to putting this bill on the president’s desk soon.”
Rep. Webster: “America’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They account for fifty-four percent of all sales in the United States, provide more than half of all American jobs, and are a critical part of the job market in my district and my home state of Florida. Unfortunately, small businesses are especially vulnerable, with some reports noting that 43 percent of cyber-attacks specifically target them. This bill will provide small businesses in my district, state, and across the country with the tools they need to meet the threats and challenges of the modern world.”
On Feb. 14, the Research and Technology Subcommittee held a hearing titled “Strengthening U.S. Cybersecurity Capabilities.” Witness testimony included a review and discussion of recommendations provided by two recent reports, including the Report on Securing and Growing the Digital Economy, published by the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity in December 2016. The Commission’s report specifically recommends that a presidential administration “develop concrete efforts to support and strengthen the cybersecurity of small and medium-sized businesses.” The report further notes that for some small businesses, “the security of their information, systems, and networks either is not their highest priority or is something they do not have the resources to address.”
The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014 (15 U.S.C. 7421 et seq.) calls on NIST to facilitate and support a voluntary public-private partnership to reduce cybersecurity risks to critical infrastructure, including that of medium and small businesses.
Small businesses play a vital role in the economy of the United States, accounting for 54 percent of all U.S. sales and 55 percent of U.S. jobs. They are also a major target of cyberattacks, which are particularly harmful to them as 60 percent of small businesses that suffer a cyberattack are out of business within six months.
H.R. 2105 is the House companion bill to S.770, which was favorably reported by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on April 5.
The NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act of 2017:
directs the NIST Director, in consultation with heads of other federal agencies, to disseminate clear and concise guidelines, tools, best practices, standards and methodologies, based on the NIST Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, to help small businesses identify, assess, manage, and reduce their cybersecurity risks, within a year of the Act’s enactment;
clarifies that use of such guidance by small businesses is voluntary;
directs the NIST director and heads of federal agencies that so elect to make the guidance available on their government websites; and
specifies that funds to carry out this act are authorized out of existing spending.
Text of the bill can be found here. Read More
WASHINGTON- U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement on the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision to suspend the lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan.
Chairman Smith: “The D.C. Circuit Court made the right decision to suspend the ongoing litigation in the Clean Power Plan suit. President Trump and Administrator Pruitt have been committed to reviewing the costly and lawfully questionable Obama carbon regulation. Today’s announcement gives EPA the appropriate time to carry out a promise made to the American people. I am confident that EPA will determine that the massive cost of the rule and its questionable benefits require a better deal for the American people, who will bear all of its unnecessary burdens.”