Two bills, both involving the Environment Protection Agency and both sponsored by Republicans, are scheduled to come before the House of Representatives today, ThinkProgress reported.
One of the bills, the Secret Science Reform Act which was sponsored by Texas’ Lamar Smith, “would prohibit the EPA from using science that includes private data, or data that couldn’t easily be reproduced.”
Being promoted under the guise of stopping the EPA from using “hidden and flawed” science for drafting regulations, Smith says this bill would hold the EPA more “accountable.”
“Costly regulations should not be created behind closed doors and out of public view,” Smith said in a statement to ThinkProgress. “This bill works towards a more accountable view of government that the American people want and deserve.”
The other piece of legislation, the Science Advisory Board Reform Act sponsored by Oklahoma’s Frank Lucas, would “change the rules surrounding which scientists are allowed to serve on the Science Advisory board (SAB), a group that gives scientific advice to the EPA.”
The bill would simultaneously make it harder for scientists who have applied for EPA grants for their work to serve on the board and easier for scientists who have taken money from corporations.
Both bills actually passed the House last year, but were torn apart by both science and environmental groups.
In a letter to then-House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy last year, more than 40 scientific organizations and universities explained just how misguided the Secret Science Act really was.
The letter pointed out that sometimes data is gathered after a one-time event, like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and the SSA could exclude that data from use by the EPA. It also said that often data is collected from studies “so large and of great duration that they could not be realistically be reproduced … We could foresee a situation whereby the EPA would be constrained from making a proposal or even disseminating public information in a timely fashion.”
Democratic Representatives that have come out against these disastrous pieces of legislation see these bills for what they really are: a way for the GOP to keep the EPA from passing much-needed regulations.
“It’s a dangerous attack on the power of knowledge,” said Katherine Clark (MA) on the House floor in November. “Rather than argue with the indisputable facts on air pollution – a losing bet – this bill attempts to discredit the science as secret, when in fact, there’s nothing secret about it. The only secret here is the true intent of the bill.”
Because of the billions of dollars Republican politicians receive from industries like coal-burning power plants, big oil, and natural gas, it’s not surprising that they would be pushing these anti-science pieces of legislation. These industries will stop at nothing, including buying politicians, to protect their profits. And the politicians will stop at nothing, including killing the planet, to protect their reelections.