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Simpson Supports Bills to Improve EPA’s Public Accountability

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson this week supported a series of bills to bring greater transparency and accountability to actions by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  H.R. 1422, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2013, H.R. 4012, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2013, and H.R. 4795, the Promoting New Manufacturing Act, were all passed by the House of Representatives and are now awaiting action by the U.S. Senate.

H.R. 1422, which makes a number of reforms to the EPA’s Science Advisory Board to ensure that EPA’s decisions are made on sound science, complements Simpson’s efforts to address concerns about the EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program.  In recent years the IRIS program has drawn harsh criticism from the science community.  H.R. 1422 takes action based on findings from a National Academy of Sciences study that Simpson commissioned in 2011 when he chaired the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.

“The public needs to be able to trust that EPA’s policy decisions are based on good science and not swayed by politics,” said Simpson.  “When we first examined the IRIS system, we found a broken process that lacked scientific accountability, and I’m pleased that Congress has taken up addition efforts to improve transparency and accountability and increase public participation in EPA’s decision making process.”

H.R. 4012 would ensure that the scientific data used by EPA for policy decisions is available to the public.  The bill responds to concerns about the fact that the Obama Administration has not made public the data behind a number of its decisions and has refused to provide the information to Congress when requested.  Similarly, H.R. 4795 would improve accountability and transparency in EPA’s permitting process for industrial projects.

“I have long expressed my concern about EPA’s appetite for aggressive regulation, a concern that is magnified by the fact that EPA cannot or refuses to provide the scientific data it uses to make these policies,” said Simpson.  “These bills are reasonable and important measures to bring transparency and accountability to the regulatory process, and I am hopeful that the Senate will act on them quickly.”