Clean Air Act and Related Issues - 114th Congress (2015-2016)

Science

Secret Science Reform Act (H.R. 1030 & S. 544)

Background

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1030 – the Secret Science Reform Act of 2015 – on March 18, 2015 by a vote of 241 to 175.   A companion bill in the Senate – S. 544 – was approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on April 28, 2015 by a vote of 11 to 9.  The Secret Science Reform Act would require that all scientific and technical information on which EPA relies to support covered actions must be “the best available science,” specifically identified and publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results.  A “covered action” includes a risk, exposure or hazard assessment; criteria document; standard; limitation; regulation; regulatory impact analysis; or guidance.  The bill stipulates that the EPA Administrator is to carry out the provisions in a manner that does not exceed $1,000,000 per fiscal year.  On March 3, 2015, the White House said if H.R. 1030 is sent to the President his advisors will recommend that he veto it.  The Secret Science Reform Act was introduced on February 24, 2015 by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and the next day (February 25, 2015) was approved by the House Science Committee by a vote of 16 to 11.  The Senate version of the bill, S. 544, was introduced on February 24, 2015, by Senator John Barrasso.  On March 11, 2015, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an estimate of the cost to the federal government of implementing the House version of the Secret Science Reform Act of 2015.  Based on information from EPA, CBO estimates that if the bill were enacted into law EPA would need to spend around $250 million a year over the next few years to ensure the required transparency of information and data supporting covered actions.  CBO believes subsequent year costs would likely decline over time.  On June 5, 2015, CBO issued a cost estimate for S. 544, which was identical to the cost estimate for H.R. 1030.  A bill similar to the EPA Secret Science Reform Act was introduced in the 113th Congress.  The House approved it but it was never taken up in the Senate.    

Key Actions

June 5, 2015 – The Congressional Budget Office released an estimate of the cost to the federal government of implementing S. 544.

April 28, 2015 – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved S. 544, the Secret Science Reform Act of 2015, by a vote of 11 to 9, clearing the way for the bill to move to the Senate floor.

March 18, 2015 – The House of Representatives approved H.R. 1030, the Secret Science Reform Act of 2015, by a vote of 241 to 175.  Comprehensive information on the bill is available here.

March 11, 2015 – The Congressional Budget Office released an estimate of the cost to the federal government of implementing H.R. 1030.

March 3, 2015 – The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy on H.R. 1030 indicating that the President would veto the bill if it is presented to him.

February 25, 2015 – H.R. 1030 was marked up and approved by the House Science Committee by a vote of 16 to 11.

February 24, 2015 – H.R. 1030, the Secret Science Reform Act of 2015 was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX).  A companion bill in the Senate, S. 544, was introduced by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY).

 

EPA SAB Reform Act (H.R. 1029 & S. 543)

Background

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1029, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015 – on March 17, 2015 by a vote of 236 to 181.  The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act would, among other things, the bill would revise the way in which Science Advisory Board (SAB) members are selected.  On March 3, 2015, the White House said if H.R. 1029 is sent to the President his advisors will recommend that he veto it.  The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act was introduced on February 24, 2015 by Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) and the next day (February 25, 2015) was approved by the House Science Committee by a vote of 17 to 12.  On March 2, 2015, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated, based on information from EPA, that implementing the changes proposed in the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act would cost less than $500,000 a year and approximately $2 million from 2015 through 2020, subject to the availability of appropriated of appropriated funds for additional personnel and administrative expenses.  A companion bill to H.R. 1029 – S. 543 – was also introduced in the Senate on February 24, 2015, Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Joe Manchin (D-WV); a Senate hearing was held on May 20, 2015.  A bill similar to the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act was introduced in the 113th Congress.  The House approved it but it was never taken up in the Senate.    

Key Actions

May 20, 2015 – The Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regualtory Oversight held an oversight hearing on S. 543. 

March 17, 2015 – The House of Representatives approved the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015 by a vote of 236 to 181.  Comprehensive information on the bill is available here.

March 3, 2015 – The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy on H.R. 1029 indicating that the President would veto the bill if it is presented to him.

March 2, 2015 – The Congressional Budget Office released an estimate of the cost of implementing the changes proposed in H.R. 1029.

February 25, 2015 – H.R. 1029 was marked up and approved by the House Science Committee by a vote of 17 to 12.

February 24, 2015 – H.R. 1029, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015, was introduced by Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK).  A companion bill, S. 543, was introduced in the Senate by Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).