TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, and dedicated to promoting, protecting, and defending America’s free enterprise system, supports H.R. 1029, the “EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015,” and H.R. 1030, the “Secret Science Reform Act of 2015.”
H.R. 1029 would help ensure that the Science Advisory Board (SAB), which directly counsels the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on scientific and technical issues, is unbiased and transparent in performing its duties. This bill would establish requirements that SAB members are qualified experts, that conflicts of interest and sources of bias are disclosed, that the views of members—including dissenting members—are available to the public, and that the public has the opportunity to participate in the advisory activities of the Board and view EPA’s responses. Because EPA relies on SAB reviews and studies to support new regulations, standards, guidance, assessments of risk, and other actions, the actions of the SAB must be transparent and accountable. This is a critical safeguard to assure the public that the data federal agencies rely on is scientifically sound and unbiased.
H.R. 1030 would improve the transparency and reliability of scientific and technical information that federal agencies rely heavily upon by to support new regulatory actions. This bill is designed to ensure that the studies and data federal agencies cite when they write new regulations, standards, guidance, assessments of risk—or take other regulatory action—are clearly identified and made available for public review. Additionally, information must be sufficiently transparent to allow study findings to be reproduced and validated. This is a critical safeguard to assure the public that the data federal agencies rely on is scientifically sound and unbiased.
These bills would improve the transparency and trustworthiness of scientific and technical information agencies rely on to justify regulatory actions that can significantly affect society. The American public must have confidence that the scientific and technical data driving regulatory action can be trusted. Accordingly, the Chamber supports H.R.1029 and H.R. 1030.