Skip to content

Today, U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), David Vitter (R-LA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Jim Risch (R-ID), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) introduced legislation to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using undisclosed science to justify new rules and regulations. The Secret Science Reform Act of 2014 would specifically block the EPA from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not made publically available to the American people. 

“Since the American people bear the expensive costs of EPA red tape, they deserve to have access to the science behind the EPA’s proposals,” said Barrasso. “For years, the EPA has based its rules and regulations on secret data that they refuse to publish and make available to all Americans. If the Administration wants to finally live up to its claim of being the ‘most transparent administration’ in U.S. history, they’ll immediately support our bill.” 

“Implementing expensive rules and regulations by hiding the underlying science is the norm at the EPA. This Administration promised transparency and accountability, but they’ve completely failed to do so,” said Vitter. “I’m proud to work with Senator Barrasso and my colleagues in the Senate on this necessary legislation that will help EPA and the Obama Administration fulfill their promise to the American people.”

The House version of this legislation (H.R. 4012) was introduced by House Science Committee Subcommittee on Environment Chairman David Schweikert (R-AZ), and passed the House Science Committee on June 24, 2014 by a voice vote.

Background:

Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Ranking Member Vitter and Senator Barrasso sent a letter to then EPA Air and Radiation Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy with other EPW Republicans on April 10, 2013. The letter demanded that EPA release the underlying data behind some of the agency’s most costly rules. Their request number three in the letter asked –

“That underlying data used to promulgate Clean Air Act rules be made public so the public can independently examine cost/benefit and other issues. That the EPA release a full set of data files for the American Cancer Society Study; the Harvard Six Cities Study; HEI/Krewski et al. 2009; Laden et al. 2006; Lepeule 2012; and Jerrett 2009. This request includes the coding of Personal Health Information (PHI).”

The letter points out that these studies “are the basis for nearly all the health and benefit claims from Clean Air Act rulemaking in this Administration.”

To date, EPA has not been able to fully produce this information.

Under the Secret Science Reform Act of 2014:

  • The EPA Administrator would not be able to propose, finalize, or disseminate a covered action such as issue a new regulatory standard or regulation unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support such a standard or regulation is specifically identified and publicly available so there can be independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results. 
Information covered under this bill includes materials, data, and computer models among other information.