Republicans try to strip science from the EPA

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Republicans try to strip science from the EPA

Postby Wilberforce » Thu Nov 20, 2014 6:46 pm

November 18, 2014, 06:18 pm
House passes bill to reform EPA science panel

By Cristina Marcos

The House on Tuesday passed legislation to overhaul the Environmental Protection Agency's Scientific Advisory Board.

Passed 229-191, the measure, H.R. 1422, would change the process of selecting members of the Scientific Advisory Board and the terms of office.

Among other provisions, the measure would require the Scientific Advisory Board, which consults the EPA on its regulations, to have at least ten percent of members from state, local or tribal governments.

The bill is part of the House GOP's package of legislation this week to limit the EPA's ability to issue new regulations. Later this week, the House will vote on bills to require the EPA to make public its scientific data to justify regulations and limit updates to air pollution rules.

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), the measure's sponsor, said the measure would ensure the board is held accountable.

"There is a process that is broken. And it's through this bill we can not only improve that process, but also restore trust between the American people and the federal government," Stewart said.

Democrats said the measure would hinder the board's effectiveness and compromise its members' scientific expertise.

"While it sounds good to say you are increasing transparency, in reality this simply strengthens the role of special interests' biased interests in the process," said Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.).

The White House issued a veto threat on Monday against the bill, saying it would "negatively affect the appointment of experts and would weaken the scientific independence and integrity of the SAB."

- Timothy Cama contributed.

source
http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/h ... ence-panel

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November 19, 2014, 03:41 pm
House passes bill to limit EPA 'secret science'

By Cristina Marcos

The House on Wednesday passed legislation to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing new regulations unless it provides the scientific data to justify them.

Passage of the measure, H.R. 4012, fell largely along party lines with a vote of 237-190.

The bill is part of the House GOP's package of legislation on the floor this week to limit the EPA's regulatory powers. On Tuesday, the House passed a measure to reform the EPA's Scientific Advisory Board.

Republicans said the measure would enhance transparency at the EPA.

"Costly environmental regulations should only be based on data that is available to independent scientists and the public," said House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

But Democrats said imposing such a requirement could force the EPA to release confidential patient information used in scientific studies, a violation of federal law.

"The legislation will not improve the EPA's actions. Rather, it will stifle public health protections," said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), the top Democrat on the committee.

Moreover, Democrats questioned why Republicans were demanding access to scientific data when many deny the existence of climate change.

"The Republicans don't have a lot of credibility when they talk about wanting more science. Because I have seen so many areas where Republicans have tried to ignore the science," said Rep. Henry Waxman (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), the bill's sponsor, said it would establish more responsible policymaking.

"If you're going to make public policy, do it by public data," Schweikert said. "Is there anyone in this body when we all ran for office that did not commit to transparency?"

The White House issued a veto threat against the legislation. In a statement of administration policy, the White House warned the bill would be used to simply mire proposed EPA regulations in legal challenges over "legitimate withholding" of scientific data.

"Instead of an overly broad bill that would tie EPA’s hands, the Administration urges Congress to support the Administration’s efforts to make scientific and technical information more accessible and regulations more transparent," the White House statement reads.

Before final passage, the House rejected an amendment, 194-230, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-Mass.) that would allow the EPA to use peer-reviewed scientific publications even if they are based on data prohibited from being made public.
Tags: Environmental Protection Agency, Climate change

source
http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/h ... et-science
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Re: Republicans try to strip science from the EPA

Postby Wilberforce » Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:53 am

House takes up Lamar Smith’s ‘secret science’ bill; EBJ slams ‘insidious’ attack on EPA
Michael Lindenberger Email mlindenberger@dallasnews.com
Published: November 19, 2014 1:21 pm

Update: The House passed the bill at 3:23 p.m. EST., 237 to 190. The House rejected two Democratic amendments, one by Rep. Joseph Kennedy of Massachusetts, which would have allowed the EPA to use a study that had been subjected to standard peer-review. A second amendment by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, would have exempted the EPA from the bill in the event of emergencies like the Ebola breakout or toxic spills.

The vote from Texas members was almost entirely partisan. Twenty three of the state’s 24 Republicans, plus Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, voted yes. Rep. Ralph Hall, a Republican, was absent and did not vote.

WASHINGTON — Two of Texas’ most prominent members of Congress squared off moments ago on the House floor as members prepare to vote on a bill Republicans say will end the EPA’s reliance on scientific studies whose data aren’t fully available to the public.

The Secret Science Reform Act of 2014 would require the Environmental Protection Agency to base its rules only on scientific studies whose data can be shared in sufficient details that other researchers can duplicate the research. A vote is expected within the hour, and this post will be updated with its results.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, is chairman of the House science committee and from that perch he has targeted repeatedly the EPA’s use of two landmark studies that have linked air pollution and health problems for humans. The EPA has relied on those studies — conducted by Harvard University and the American Cancer Society – over the years to write rules penalizing air pollution.

To Smith, the question is simple: Science that the government uses to restrict commerce or impose other regulatory burdens on burdens — especially under the aggressive clean air agenda pursued by the Obama Administration — should be fully available to other scientists, including those who work for businesses subject to the rules, who want to duplicate the research.

“It stops the EPA’s use of unverifiable science,” Smith said in kicking the hour-long debate off Wednesday just after 1 p.m. EST.
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, is ranking member on the House Science committee.

But Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas and the ranking member on the Science panel, used none of the measured language Smith had used in opening the debate.

“This bill does not permit me to mince words,” Johnson said. “It’s an insidious attack on the EPA … and the culmination of one of the one anti-science and anti-health campaigns I’ve ever witnessed in my 22 years in Congress. It is born of the Republicans’ long-standing obsession with two seminal scientific studies conducted by Harvard and the American Cancer Society.”

The Science committee took the unprecedented step of subpoenaing the data for these studies last year, but while the EPA has turned over cartloads of documents, it says it cannot comply with the full demands. In part, that’s because the custodians of those records are the institutions who conducted them in the first place.

Both those institutions say that fully revealing the data used in their studies would violate the privacy of individuals who were part of their decades-long studies.

Smith and others who champion the bill say it’s about transparency — and about fairness to the businesses who are regulated by the EPA.

Rep. David Schweikert, R-Arizona, said there’s another benefit of the proposed law. By opening the science up to the public, its conclusions will be vetted — and possibly improved — by wider repetition and innovation.

But beneath those concerns lay a significant frustration with the Obama Administration’s use of the EPA to impose regulations on air quality, greenhouse gas emissions and water rules, among other things.

But Rush D. Holt, the only member to hold a Ph.D. in physics, said the Republicans’ arguments are wrong. “It’s a blatant misunderstanding of how science operates,” he said. “… And it’s an affront to science.”

The bill, should it pass the Senate, faces a likely veto. The White House explained its thinking on the topic in a memo published Monday.

source
http://bizbeatblog.dallasnews.com/2014/ ... -epa.html/
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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Posts: 5991
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