What is H.R. 1430?
(Updated August 26, 2021)
This bill — known as the HONEST Act — would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from proposing, finalizing, or publishing regulations or assessments based on science that isn’t transparent or reproducible. All scientific and technical information used by the EPA to support their action would have to be based on the best available science, specifically identified, and publicly available online in a way that allows for independent analysis and reproduction of the research results.
Personal, commercial or financial information, and trade secrets could be redacted before it becomes publicly available, and to view redactions a person would have to sign a confidentiality agreement with the EPA.
Among the EPA actions covered by this bill include a risk, exposure, or hazard assessment, criteria document, standards and limitations, regulations, regulatory impact analyses, and guidances. This bill’s requirements wouldn’t apply retroactively to existing regulations or assessments.
This bill’s acronym stands for the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act.
Argument in favor
This bill would make the science the EPA considers when it takes actions like creating regulations more transparent. That data should be publicly available so that others can reproduce and verify the studies used by the EPA.
The requirements put forth by this bill could be very costly if the EPA tries to use the same number of scientific studies that it has in the past. It would limit the EPA’s ability to use science that isn’t reproducible or transparent.
The general public; scientific entities contracted for research studies by the EPA; the subjects of those studies; EPA employees; and the EPA.
Cost of H.R. 1430
A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.
In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced this bill in order to promote “an open and honest Environmental Protection Agency” and “preserving the integrity of the scientific review process.” Smith added in a press release that:
“An open and honest scientific process is long overdue at EPA. American taxpayers have often had to foot the bill for regulations and rules based on hidden science that has not been available for review by the public. We want to change that. The HONEST Act of 2017 is about ensuring public access to the very science that underpins rules and regulations by EPA. This bill would prohibit any future regulations from taking effect unless the underlying scientific data is public.”
The Union of Concerned Scientists has expressed opposition to this bill, calling it a “thinly veiled attack on science that [Rep. Smith (R-TX)] doesn’t like.” It contends that the peer review process is sufficient for the federal government’s use in issuing relevant science-based rules, so the raw data is unnecessary. The organization also said that it would add “unnecessary and burdensome redundancy” to the regulatory process that “wastes taxpayer dollars and agency resources.” Finally, the UCS said the bill would discourage private sector and academic researchers from sharing information with the government because of its intellectual property provisions.
This legislation has the support of 29 cosponsors in the House, including 28 Republicans and a Democrat. It passed the Science, Space, and Technology Committee on a 17-12 vote. During the 114th Congress, it was introduced as the “Secret Science Reform Act” and passed the House on a mostly party-line 241-175 vote.
House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
American Institute of Physics
EHS Daily Advisor
The Atlantic (Opposed)
Union of Concerned Scientists (Opposed)
Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives and Record Administration / Public Domain)
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