Currently, the EPA spends about $500 million annually on
research and risk assessments. It relies on a variable number of studies
to produce regulations depending on the subject, so it could use ten
studies for one regulation, and thousands of studies for another. The
EPA uses about 50,000 scientific studies every year.
EPA studies come in many different sizes and
configurations, and this typically has to do with the subject of the
scientific study. The previous CBO analysis
of this bill cited two radically different examples to demonstrate this — a regulation on flaring at petroleum refineries that used 12 studies,
and an air quality regulation that required thousands of studies.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science
(AAAS) also notes that longitudinal studies — which can be very
extensive and last for years, if not decades — would be impractical to
replicate. Another concern expressed by the AAAS is that research gained
from one-off events like the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill would be
unusable for regulations because it wouldn’t be replicable. It is
unclear whether exceptions for these circumstances could be arranged.
types of studies the EPA would have to use based on this legislation
typically cost between $10,000 and $30,000 for each scientific study. If
the EPA uses the same number of studies as it has in the past while
increasing its dissemination of technical information, this bill will
cost at least $250 million per year, if not much more.
the other hand, the EPA could rely on fewer studies every year,
focusing on those studies that are easily accessible and more
transparent. Doing so would allow it to limit its spending on data
collection and database construction, lowering the projected cost.
balance, the CBO believes the EPA would probably reduce the number of
studies it relies on by half. It will also likely limit its spending on
data collection, database construction, and dissemination — but the
increases in spending will largely be driven by those activities.
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology — Sponsoring Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) Statement
CBO Estimate (Previous Bill Version)
Bloomberg (Previous Bill Version)
American Alliance for Innovation (In Favor) (Previous Bill Version)
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (In Favor) (Previous Bill Version)
American Association for the Advancement of Science (Opposed) (Previous Bill Version)
Think Progress (Opposed) (Previous Bill Version)
(Photo Credit: Flickr user x-ray delta one)