Thursday, March 19, 2015

House GOP Votes Again to Hamstring the EPA with "Secret Science" Bill. Which Democrats Went Along?

Following their attack on the EPA on Tuesday, House Republicans voted to further hamstring the EPA with the so-called Secret Science Reform Act of 2015.

What would the bill do?
This bill would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from proposing, finalizing or disseminating any rule, regulation or other "covered action" unless all scientific and technical information relied upon to support that decision is made available to the public in a manner where the research can be independently analyzed and substantially reproduced. While this appears to be a reform that provides greater public transparency in agency rulemaking, these new requirements would force the EPA to ignore any scientific information related to personal health and other confidential data legally protected from disclosure – jeopardizing the agency’s ability to use best-available scientific data and weakening its scientific integrity....

Further, by requiring EPA to maintain detailed descriptions of all materials, data, codes and models used to create rules, as well as instructions on how to access and use them, the agency would be forced to waste limited funds working through burdensome reporting requirements instead of important public health protections.
50 scientific societies and universities recently wrote to Congress to urge members to oppose the bill because it would prohibit the use of large-scale public health studies because their data cannot "realistically be reproduced." Similarly, public health studies often use private medical data, trade secrets, and industry data that cannot legally be made public.

The bill passed 241 to 175.

One Republican--Chris Gibson (NY-19)--voted against it.

Four Democrats voted for it:
Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28).
Collin Peterson (MN-07)

Two Democratic amendments received votes.

The first, from Donna Edwards (MD-04), would authorize $250 million in EPA appropriations for each of fiscal years 2016 through 2019.

It failed 164 to 254.

17 Democrats joined Republicans to vote it down:

Pete Aguilar (CA-31)
Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
Gerry Connolly (VA-11)
Jim Cooper (TN-05)
Tammy Duckworth (IL-08)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
Anne McLane Kuster (NH-02)
Patrick Murphy (FL-18)
Scott Peters (CA-52)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Mike Quigley (IL-05)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Tim Walz (MN-01)

The second amendment, offered by Joe Kennedy (MA-04), would allow the EPA to use all peer-reviewed scientific publications.

It failed 184 to 231.

Three Republicans joined Democrats in voting for it:

Bob Dold (IL-10)
Chris Gibson (NY-19)
Richard Hanna (NY-22)

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