Lucas, Peterson Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen EPA Independent Scientific Advice

Feb 27, 2015 Issues: Congressional Issues

Washington D.C. – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Vice-Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) today introduced the bipartisan EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act to bring fairness, transparency, and independence to the EPA’s expert panel.  Similar legislation passed the House in the 113th Congress with bipartisan support. Companion legislation was also introduced today in the Senate by Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Vice-Chairman Lucas: “The Science Advisory Board (SAB) informs the EPA on regulations that impact the lives of millions of Americans. Some members on this board have received grant money from the EPA, and several of the members have openly expressed policy preferences in the same areas they are asked to independently study. The heavy costs of EPA’s regulations warrant some degree of public oversight to ensure SAB’s findings are free from bias or conflicts of interest and not simply provided by a set of handpicked advisors. The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act addresses these issues by ensuring the science guiding EPA’s regulatory policy is open to review by the public and requiring members who serve on this board to disclose their professional backgrounds.”

Rep. Peterson: “The Science Advisory Board’s work is important to making sure the EPA considers all scientific information when writing regulations that will impact American farmers, families and small businesses. This legislation builds on the work done in the 2014 Farm Bill and is necessary to ensure the EPA takes into account the best information possible, with input from the public and independent stakeholders. A balanced and independent Science Advisory Board will help alleviate some of the unintended consequences surrounding EPA regulations.”

The SAB was created to provide independent expert advice to the EPA and Congress on scientific and technical information that may be used to justify federal regulations.  Over the past decades, shortcomings with the current process have arisen, including limited public participation, EPA interference with expert advice, and potential conflicts of interest.  As a result, the law should be updated to restore scientific integrity to the process and independence to the Board.  The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act addresses these shortcomings guaranteeing a well-balanced expert panel, increasing transparency, and encouraging public participation to empower the SAB to provide meaningful and unbiased scientific advice.