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New bill restricts the EPA’s ability to regulate by cracking down on science

House votes to prohibit the EPA from proposing regulations if the scientific evidence is not made public.

Mar 29, 2017, 7:37 pm*

Tech

 

Nidia Cavazos

The House on Wednesday passed a bill prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from proposing regulations if its scientific evidence is not made public.

The Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act (HONEST Act) passed with 228 votes. This bill would also require scientific studies to be replicable, and via confidentially agreement, anyone could view personal or trade data information.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the Science Committee , said every American should be able to view and know the information the EPA uses to make its regulations.

“The days of ‘trust-me’ science are over,” Smith said on the House floor. “In our modern information age, federal regulations should be based only on data that is available for every American to see and that can be subjected to independent review. That’s called the scientific method.”

Democrats have largely criticized Republicans’ efforts, saying this bill would limit the EPA’s ability to do its job, as the EPA does not own a lot of the information in studies used for regulations, and has little legal rights to make that data public.

“In reality, this bill isn’t about science. It’s about undermining public health and the environment,” said Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), the Science Committee’s top Democrat.

As for the bill’s language that notes the EPA must make its science studies available for all to view, Johnson dismissed it as a“Pandora’s box” that “could have untold consequences for the EPA, industry and the general public, including restricting the EPA’s ability to gather information.”

This bill comes after President Trump signed a climate change-related executive order that would ensure the promotion of American jobs as a top priority. While the administration says it is moving toward making U.S. energy independent, climate change advocates see a potential threat to public health.

The bill is another effort by the Trump administration to repeal Obama-era regulations.

H/T the Hill

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*First Published: Mar 29, 2017, 7:29 pm