House GOP bill aims to end “secret science” in EPA rulemaking

House GOP bill aims to end ‘secret science’ in EPA rulemaking

FILE: Sunflower Electric Cooperative operates this coal-fired power plant in Holcomb, Kan.AP

Republican lawmakers in the House are pushing legislation that would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing new regulations based on science that is not transparent or not reproducible.

The Secret Science Reform Act, introduced Thursday by Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., would bar the agency from proposing or finalizing rules without first disclosing all “scientific and technical information” relied on to support its proposed action.

“Public policy should come from public data, not based on the whims of far-left environmental groups,” Schweikert said in a statement. “For far too long, the EPA has approved regulations that have placed a crippling financial burden on economic growth in this country with no public evidence to justify their actions.”

Several of Schweikert’s fellow House Science Committee members have signed onto the bill as co-sponsors, including Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas., Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., and Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas.

In December, members of the House Science Committee accused agency of disregarding ignoring dissenting voices on its independent science advisory review board in its push to impose carbon dioxide limits on new power plants.

Smith said the proposal “prohibits EPA from using secret science to justify new regulations.”

“The American people foot the bill for EPA’s costly regulations, and they have a right to see the underlying science. Costly environmental regulations should be based upon publicly available data so that independent scientists can verify the EPA’s claims,” Smith said in a statement.

Meanwhile, some states are considering legislation aimed at banning or curtailing future environmental regulations that would be costly to local energy industries.

In Idaho, Rep. Paul Shepherd, a conservative legislator, has introduced a proposal to declare restrictions handed down by the EPA unconstitutional, touting the bill as a way for Idaho to call the shots while disregarding federal regulations on air and water pollution.

In particular, his bill would help dredge miners whose work was being impeded by what they say is unnecessarily restrictive pollution rules.

Although the House State Affairs Committee voted Thursday to send the proposal to a full hearing, it was met with deep skepticism from lawmakers who questioned its legality.

The Idaho Legislature has a history of using largely symbolic legislation as a gesture of defiance against what they view as oppressive government controls.

In Indiana, the Republican-controlled Indiana House approved a bill that would bar state environmental regulators “from adopting a rule or standard that is more stringent than” corresponding federal rules or standards.

If the bill passes the Legislature, it could reportedly have numerous ramifications, including limiting what rules the Indiana Department of Environmental Management could propose to address the large amounts of manure produced by the state’s big livestock farms.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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