WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) today introduced legislation to improve confidence in the fairness and transparency of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and rulemaking by reforming the science advisory process.
The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act makes changes to the Science Advisory Board (SAB) by increasing transparency, enabling SAB reviews of EPA “risk or hazard assessments” that are used to justify regulations, ensuring that the dissenting views of scientists on review panels are not silenced, standardizing the SAB member selection process to make it consistent with practices at the National Academies and other federal agencies, limiting non-scientific policy advice, increasing SAB disclosures, and eliminating SAB conflicts of interest.
“Americans are worried about EPA rules and regulations that are not based on transparent science or developed through a fair and open process. These actions drive up the cost of food, electricity, gas, and items on the store shelf; and low-income families are hit the hardest. We must promote conservation, and protect our air and water. But Arkansans and all Americans want the rule-making process to be fair and science-based, without conflicts of interest,” Boozman, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said.
“For too long, the EPA’s regulations have been the result of a process that is too closed and too vulnerable to conflicts of interest and insider politics,” Manchin said. “The EPA must improve its credibility with the American people and the entire energy sector, and this bipartisan legislation makes sure that the EPA is held accountable for creating fair, unbiased, and science-based rules and regulations. I thank Senator Boozman for his leadership in crafting commonsense ideas on how we can strengthen EPA transparency.”
The SAB was established by the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 (ERDDA) to provide scientific advice upon the request of the EPA Administrator and Congressional Committees, but improvements need to be made.
- Strengthens public participation and comment opportunities
- Modernizes the selection of Science Advisory Board (SAB) and sub-panel members;
- Eliminates conflicts of interest and increasing disclosures;
- Expands the ability of SAB members to express dissenting views;
- Enables SAB reviews of EPA “risk or hazard assessments”; and
- Limits non-scientific policy advice.
Similar legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Chris Stewart, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.