EPA Withheld Analysis of Major Legislation from Congress

Statement by Andrew Rosenberg, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Apr 4, 2017

WASHINGTON (April 4, 2017)—Bloomberg is reporting that the Environmental Protection Agency, to support a claim that the far-reaching HONEST Act would impose little to no cost on the agency, suppressed the comments of its own analysts on the bill. It’s the latest sign that, under the leadership of Administrator Scott Pruitt, the EPA is unwilling to accept information that undermines the policies it wants to put forward, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“A pattern is emerging: Administrator Pruitt and other EPA leaders are not interested in listening to the agency’s experts. The EPA told the Congressional Budget Office that HR 1430, which would radically change how the EPA uses science to make decisions, would have a negligible cost to the agency. But the staff who would actually have to implement this bill report otherwise.

“When EPA staff said the bill could impose $250 million in new costs on the agency, agency leadership refused to pass this information on to the CBO. That’s reckless and foolish, and could have led to Congress making a decision about the legislation without knowing its true cost.

“Pruitt’s enthusiasm for this legislation should not justify the suppression of information. It’s not only a bad bill that would make it almost impossible for the agency to use public health studies; it would also add huge additional costs to an agency already hamstrung by chronic underfunding.  

“Just last week, Pruitt overruled his agency’s science advisors and approved the use of a pesticide that studies show can cause brain damage in children and health problems for farmworkers. The EPA has a real effect on human lives, and its effectiveness relies on a willingness to consider and act on evidence. Pruitt’s attitude toward scientific expertise isn’t just short-sighted—it puts Americans at risk. He is, simply, failing at the job he’s supposed to do.”