The House of Representatives voted in March to restrict the science the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) utilizes to justify new regulations.
The bill passed on March 29, 2017 with a 228-194 vote.
The official title of the legislation is House Resolution 1430, but the act has been cited as the “Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act of 2017.” The house bill “prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible.”
This is not the first time the House of Representatives has voted to limit the EPA’s ability to use science in justifying regulations. In 2014 and 2015, the House passed versions of the Secret Science Reform Act, which, like the HONEST Act, sought to limit the data that EPA can use. President Obama threatened to veto any form of this legislation which made it to his desk.
This is the latest effort from a congress bent on dismantling the EPA. An organization they believe has out-of-control administrative costs and implements unnecessary, expensive regulations. Most of the regulations members of congress will contend are unfounded on science from activist groups wishing to generate more government subsidies toward renewables and strangle the productivity of market forces.
Many environmental groups and democrats claim the legislation is an attempt to handcuff the EPA from implementing practical regulations to combat climate change and protect the environment. The legislation is “Big Oil” and fossil fuel companies extending their leverage over politicians. It will allow them to continue to pollute on a massive scale and refute the science of climate change.
This accusation from environmental groups appears to have validity with President Donald Trump’s pledge to revive the coal industry and claiming that climate change was a hoax invented by China. Additionally, the president has vowed to cut regulations in all major industries. The president doubled down on this effort when he appointed former Attorney General from Oklahoma Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA. Pruitt is a known climate change denier and advocates debating the scientific merits of climate change.
The legislation continues by stating the administrator (Pruitt) “shall not propose, finalize, or disseminate a covered action unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support such covered action is the best available science, specifically identified and publicly available online in a manner that is sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results.” The publicly available material can be redacted prior to the public’s knowledge at the jurisdiction of the administrator if this person witnesses a violation of certain privileged information.
The push for this new piece of legislation is a blatant response to the congress members who believe the science of the EPA during the Obama administration was conducted in the shadows. The studies the EPA officials performed were not transparent and possibly shady in nature. This claim has no evidence as of today’s date.
In a local spin, the legislation in the house was sponsored by 18th congressional district representative Darin LaHood and Randall Hultgren of the 14th congressional district.
I understand this article is a tad tardy in the delivery of the information, but this is my first article in months for the Indy and this topic has not seen wide coverage. With the results of climate change effecting our daily lives, this administration and congress have proposed actions to accelerate the greatest existential threat of our time. These types of actions need to be addressed and discussed openly and repeatedly.
The current legislation sits in the Senate waiting a vote and approval.
A link to the full text can be found here