Recently, the House of Representatives passed two bills to rein in bureaucratic red tape coming out of government agencies, especially the EPA. These bills, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act (H.R. 1029) and the Secret Science Reform Act (H.R. 1030), will help to increase transparency and accountability of government agencies to the public and small businesses.
In 1978, Congress established the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) to carefully review and examine data and science on which the EPA bases new regulations. However, according to the Congressional Research Service, more than half of the board members have received research grants from the EPA, often to do some of the same research they are supposed to be reviewing, a clear conflict of interest. Additionally, the EPA continues to severely limit public participation during most SAB meetings and often excludes state or private sector researchers from contributing.
The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act (H.R. 1029) would address these concerns by reinforcing peer review requirements to ensure dissenting voices from the SAB are heard. The reforms would reduce conflicts of interest by board members, and improve the make-up of SAB panels by ensuring they include researchers from outside of the federal government. This legislation empowers the SAB to provide meaningful and unbiased scientific advice.
To further increase transparency, the Secret Science Reform Act (H.R. 1030) would prohibit the EPA from proposing or finalizing new rules or regulations until the science that those rules are based on have been made publically available.
These bills have been endorsed by a number of trade associations, including the American Farm Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Manufacturers.
As a small business owner in Oregon for over 20 years, I know how government red tape can hinder economic activity and job growth. Oregonians deserve transparency from government as to why new regulations are scientifically necessary. Bills like the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act and the Secret Science Reform Act would do just that.
It’s an honor to represent you in the U.S. Congress.
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