Rounds Introduces Bill to Strengthen Transparency, Sound Science at EPA

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management and Regulatory Oversight, today introduced the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act of 2017 (HONEST Act) to make certain that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations are based on the best available science.

The HONEST Act would preserve the integrity of the scientific review process by prohibiting the agency from proposing, finalizing or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or not reproducible.

“The EPA has a long history of using questionable and secretive science to justify its actions, often leading to burdensome new regulations that hurt businesses and destroy jobs,” said Rounds. “When a regulation is implemented, the agency should be able to justify it publicly so we all have a chance to understand its impact. Sound, reliable science is vital to helping us make important policy decisions that impact the health of American families and their livelihoods. The HONEST Act would hold the EPA accountable for its decisions and bring an additional layer of transparency and accountability to the regulatory process.”

Additional cosponsors of the HONEST Act include Senate EPW Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). Similar legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), Chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, earlier this year.

“Because American taxpayers foot the bill for EPA regulations, they have a right to see the data that justifies EPA decisions,” said Chairman Smith. “The HONEST Act requires EPA to base new regulations on sound, publicly available science, which will allow EPA’s data to be independently reviewed. With the introduction of the HONEST Act in the Senate, we are one step closer to restoring confidence in EPA’s rulemaking process. I appreciate Sen. Rounds’ partnership on this legislation, and I look forward to its swift implementation.”

The HONEST Act requires that:

  • The EPA administrator shall not propose, finalize or disseminate a covered action unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support the action is 1) specifically identified, and 2) made publicly available.
  • There are protections in the legislation for trade secrets, financial or confidential information.

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