Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today passed the Secret Science Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 1030), introduced by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), to require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to base its regulations on the best available science that is publicly available.
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Many Americans are unaware that some of the EPA’s most expensive and burdensome regulations, such as its proposed ozone rules, are based on data that not even the EPA has seen. Costly environmental regulations should only be based upon data that is available to independent scientists and the public and that can be verified. It’s time to restore faith in our government and return the power to the people. This bill ensures that the decisions that affect every American are based on independently-verified, unbiased scientific research, instead of on secret data that is hidden behind closed doors.”
A 2013 poll from the Institute of Energy Research found that 90 percent of Americans agree that studies and data used to make federal government decisions should be public.
The Secret Science Reform Act has received letters of support from several national and state trade associations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Farm Bureau, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council and the Center for Regulatory Solutions, among others.
Provisions in the bill are also consistent with White House policy, the data access provisions of major scientific journals, and the recommendations of the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Obama administration’s top science advisors. The Chair of EPA’s own Science Advisory Board testified that EPA’s advisors recommend “that literature and data used by EPA be peer-reviewed and made available to the public.”
The Secret Science Reform Act affirms laws prohibiting the disclosure of confidential or proprietary information. The bill is not retroactive; it applies only to new, future regulations issued by the agency. The bill forges a new path forward embracing scientific integrity and open government.
Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)