A new bill introduced by House Republicans would limit the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to recommend or implement policies.
The bill, dubbed the Secret Science Reform Act, would force the EPA to publicly release its research on a topic before issuing a policy recommendation, and require that the research be "reproducible." Supporters claim the bill will increase transparency in public policy, while opponents have accused the bill's authors of trying to “keep the EPA from doing its job."
“Virtually every regulation proposed by the Obama administration has been justified by nontransparent data and unverifiable claims,” Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who sponsored the bill, said in a statement. “The American people foot the bill for EPA’s costly regulations, and they have a right to see the underlying science. The Secret Science Reform Act of 2014, which I sponsored, prohibits EPA from using secret science to justify new regulations.”
“This is not a ‘gotcha’ bill. This is actually one that has a very simple premise: you don’t make public policy with non-public data,” added Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), who cosponsored the bill, in a video statement. “Public policy should come from public data, not based on the whims of far-left environmental groups.”
About a dozen House Republicans have signed the bill so far, according to the Washington Times.
While the bill's language would not require the EPA to wait until its research was verified by an outside source to make recommendations, opponents say the bill’s requirements are murky.
“The bill attacks the mainstays of scientific investigation,” wrote Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) in an email to The Huffington Post. “It would strip away the EPA’s authority to make any rules due to the stringency of the data disclosure requirements.
“The peer review process is the foundation of science inquiry in our society, and is a trusted evaluation of scientific evidence around the world," he added. "This legislation attempts to dictate how the scientific method is employed,” he added. “The Secret Science Reform Act is an attempt by climate change deniers to stop the EPA from doing its job.”
The EPA declined to comment on the pending legislation, saying only that the agency "is committed to following science and the law in an open and transparent manner."