The House on last week passed legislation to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing new regulations unless it provides the scientific data to justify them. Passage of the measure, H.R. 4012, fell largely along party lines with a vote of 237-190.
The bill is part of the House GOP’s package of legislation to limit the EPA’s regulatory powers. On Tuesday, the House passed a measure to reform the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board. Republicans said the measure would enhance transparency at the EPA. “Costly environmental regulations should only be based on data that is available to independent scientists and the public,” said House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).
But Democrats said imposing such a requirement could force the EPA to release confidential patient information used in scientific studies, a violation of federal law. “The legislation will not improve the EPA’s actions. Rather, it will stifle public health protections,” said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), the top Democrat on the committee.
Moreover, Democrats questioned why Republicans were demanding access to scientific data when many deny the existence of climate change.
“The Republicans don’t have a lot of credibility when they talk about wanting more science. Because I have seen so many areas where Republicans have tried to ignore the science,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.