The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be prohibited from using certain scientific data to justify new environmental rules.
If the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment (HONEST) Act is passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Trump, it would disallow the EPA from using scientific studies and methods that are not yet publicly available to write and put in place new environmental regulations.
However, because some of the scientific data the EPA uses to determine what regulations are proper is not under the purview of the EPA to release, the HONEST Act effectively cripples the EPA from being able to effectively do the job it was created to do.
“This legislation ensures that sound science is the basis for EPA decisions and regulatory actions,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, chair of the House Science Committee, in a floor speech. “The days of ‘trust-me’ science are over.”
However, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), who is the ranking member of Smith’s committee, said the bill was a thinly veiled attempt to dismantle the EPA by rendering it impotent. She referenced the Secret Science Act, which was introduced in the previous Congress but never signed by former President Barack Obama, as proof that Republicans were simply trying to advance an anti-EPA bill.
“The secret science bills the Republicans tried to enact over the previous two congresses were insidious bills, designed from the outset to prevent EPA from using the best available science to meet its obligations under the law,” Rep. Johnson argued. “Those bills were constructed to hamstring the ability of EPA to do about anything to protect the American public.”
The roll call vote was for passage, with 228 members of Congress voting “aye” and 194 members voting “no.” See how your member of Congress voted by clicking here.
Jamie Green is a contributor for the Resistance Report covering the Trump administration, and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.