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house Bill H.R. 1030

Should EPA Science Reports Be More Transparent And Publicly Available?

Argument in favor

This bill would make EPA operations more transparent, especially around how they create regulations. It seems obvious that the EPA should be making its scientific studies publicly available.

Cary's Opinion
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03/17/2015
More transparency always seems like a good idea.
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Tommy's Opinion
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03/10/2015
Transparency is good in almost all functions. Make campaign finance funding completely transparent.
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Dennis's Opinion
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04/11/2015
Transparency is critical so that information, measurements, and reporting that affect decision making can be absolutely verified for accuracy.
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Argument opposed

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. If it doesn’t, the quality of its work in protecting the environment may be undermined.

KalebNyquist's Opinion
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03/04/2015
Sounds like bad data economics. By demanding scientists rely only on public data, we restrict our data supply and therefore increase the cost of doing science. As a member of the public, I don't want to be sifting through mountains of data I don't understand -- I trust our scientists to do this for me, and trust them to choose wisely the data-sets they want to use.
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Christina's Opinion
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02/07/2017
This would limit EPA gaining information on events that only happen one time and are therefore not repeatable. This is a misleading attempt to limit's EPA's research.
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Daniel's Opinion
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05/07/2015
This is just another way that the government is trying to regulate the EPA. The individuals working on the information are trained professionals. They don't need the public weighing in on facts.
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What is House Bill H.R. 1030?

This bill would prohibit the EPA from proposing, finalizing, disseminating regulations, or assessments based on science that is not transparent or reproducible.


All scientific and technical information relied upon to support regulations must be specifically identified. It must also be made publicly available in a way that it is suitable for independent analysis and reproduction of research results.


Other covered actions would include a risk, exposure, or hazard assessment, criteria document, standard, limitation, regulation, regulatory impact analysis, or guidance.

Impact

Scientific entities contracted for research studies by the EPA, the subjects of those research studies, EPA employees, and the EPA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1030

$250.00 Million
A CBO cost estimate is unavailable. However, a CBO estimate of a previous version of this bill found that the bill would cost about $250 million annually for the next few years, with costs declining gradually from that level thereafter. The CBO does, however, admit that there is a very high degree of uncertainty, and the $250 million estimate represents the middle of a wide range of outcomes.

More Information

In Depth:

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.


The 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.


On 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.


On 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.


Media:

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)

AKA

Secret Science Reform Act of 2015

Official Title

To prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Environment and Public Works
  • The house Passed March 18th, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 241 Yea / 175 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
    IntroducedFebruary 24th, 2015

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    More transparency always seems like a good idea.
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    Sounds like bad data economics. By demanding scientists rely only on public data, we restrict our data supply and therefore increase the cost of doing science. As a member of the public, I don't want to be sifting through mountains of data I don't understand -- I trust our scientists to do this for me, and trust them to choose wisely the data-sets they want to use.
    Like (6)
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    Transparency is good in almost all functions. Make campaign finance funding completely transparent.
    Like (4)
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    This would limit EPA gaining information on events that only happen one time and are therefore not repeatable. This is a misleading attempt to limit's EPA's research.
    Like (4)
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    Don't be fooled by this Bill's seeming transparency. It would eliminate the use of many important studies. Be careful! Couching something restrictive as something transparent is a common ruse.
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    This is not about transparency, it is about restricting scientists and limiting what they can do, wastibg their time and resources.
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    Transparency is critical so that information, measurements, and reporting that affect decision making can be absolutely verified for accuracy.
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    Another mis-labeled bill. Big oil's attempt to keep the EPA from exposing them.
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    This is just another way that the government is trying to regulate the EPA. The individuals working on the information are trained professionals. They don't need the public weighing in on facts.
    Like (3)
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    This bill would prohibit the EPA from using studies on one-time events, such as the Gulf oil spill, pipeline spills, and pesticide bans, to inform regulations, since these events cannot be repeated.
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    Transparency is always a good thing. You can't get away with all the lying like if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. Every last democrat should be booted out of congress for that one.
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    If more individuals are aware of policies and procedures before they are in place we may have better turnouts for elections so they feel they matter.
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    If we put competent people in positions of leadership who are accountable to other elected officials who we can rely on addressing the citizens concerns, and not some interested third parties, then why do we need to add additional burden to their critical work? Another attempt at screwing with the epa
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    The report does not belong to the EPA. It belongs to the American people.
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    We need public transparency so that we can see what is going on in our government.
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    States already have a lot of constraints against the EPA while polluters continue their dirty work. Such a law would further hamstring the EPA.
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    Legislators trying to weaken regulatory bodies....
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    This will inhibit the ability for the EPA to use data from longitudinal and environmental disasters and other non-replicable studies to propose solutions quickly and effectively.
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    Hey, if I am paying for their studies and have to suffer the consequences of their decisions, I have a right to know the bases for all government scientists' and bureaucrats' actions and decisions. Without such information, we US CITIZENS AND TAXPAYERS are subject to the whims and fancies of politically-biased government dictators.
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    Stop attacking the EPA, how many bills need to attack it in how many ways. Why not just pass a "burn it all" bill congress? It's more honest.
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