April 28, 2015

“Secret Science” Bill Pushed Through Senate Committee Is Bad Policy

Statement by Andrew Rosenberg

WASHINGTON (April 28, 2015)—Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a committee vote on S. 544, the “Secret Science Reform Act”—a bill unworthy of any Senate consideration, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The bill passed in a party line 11-9 vote.

Below is a statement by Dr. Andrew A. Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS.

“It’s regrettable that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee would support such a counterproductive bill. The Secret Science Reform Act of 2015 would make it nearly impossible for the EPA to develop policies, guidance or regulations informed by the best available science. The bill bans the EPA from issuing any regulations or scientific assessments if it has not publicly disclosed the data that it used to craft the rule or assessment. The legislation also limits the EPA to only using scientific studies with ‘reproducible’ results.  The legislation may sound reasonable, but it’s actually a cynical attack on the EPA’s ability to do its job.

“This bill would make it impossible for the EPA to use many health studies, since they often contain private patient information that can’t and shouldn’t be revealed. Studies based on confidential business information would also be off-limits.  Studies of human exposures to toxics over time and from a variety of locations likely cannot be reproduced.  Neither can meta-analyses, looking at the results of hundreds of scientific studies to assess their conclusions. Such studies provide critical scientific evidence in many fields of research. This legislation wasn’t designed to promote good science—it was crafted to prevent public health and environmental laws from being enforced.

“The administration already threatened to veto the identical House version of this bill.  It did not merit a Senate committee vote.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.