Senators clash over science proposal

Source: Sean Reilly, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2018

Lawmakers clashed along party lines at the outset of a Senate hearing this afternoon on an EPA proposal to restrict the agency’s use of science in crafting new regulations.

While EPA rules help protect the public from dirty air and other hazards, “I have been concerned that the broad discretion and lack of transparency at the EPA has led the agency to seek out science that supports a predetermined policy outcome,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management and Regulatory Oversight.

But Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), the subcommittee’s ranking member, said the EPA proposal “is far more likely to hinder science-based regulation than to help it.” Booker also noted that EPA had not consulted with its own Science Advisory Board before advancing the proposal.

The draft EPA rule, which has not been made final, would bar the agency from tapping studies for which the underlying data is not available for independent verification.

Rounds is the sponsor of legislation that would similarly prohibit EPA from using research if the data are not “transparent” or “reproducible.” The bill, introduced more than a year ago, is still awaiting action by the EPW Committee.