EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20503
March 3, 2014
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
H.R. 1030 – Secret Science Reform Act of 2015
(Rep. Smith, R-TX and 28 cosponsors)
The Administration strongly supports regulatory transparency, but strongly opposes H.R. 1030. The bill would impose arbitrary, unnecessary, and expensive requirements that would seriously impede the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ability to use science to protect public health and the environment, as required under an array of environmental laws, while increasing uncertainty for businesses and States.
H.R. 1030 could be used to prevent EPA from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating any “covered action” until legal challenges about the legitimate withholding of certain scientific and technical information are resolved. Provisions of the bill could be interpreted to prevent EPA from taking important, and possibly legally required, actions, where supporting data is not publicly available, and legal challenges could delay important environmental and health protections. For example, the data underlying some scientifically-important studies is not made broadly available in order to protect the privacy of test subjects, and modeling that EPA uses for a variety of purposes are not EPA property and therefore cannot be publicly released. H.R. 1030 could interfere with EPA’s ability to take actions based on such data. In short, the bill would undermine EPA’s ability to protect the health of Americans, would impose expensive new mandates on EPA, and could impose substantial litigation costs on the Federal government. It also could impede EPA’s reliance on the best available science.
Instead of an overly broad bill that would tie EPA’s hands, the Administration urges the Congress to support the Administration’s efforts to make scientific and technical information more accessible and regulations more transparent. A bill consistent with the principles expressed in the Administration’s Executive Order 13563 “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review” and the December 2010 Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Memorandum on Scientific Integrity, as well as implementation of the Administration’s recent open data and public access initiatives (e.g., OSTP’s February 2013 policy memorandum on Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research) would greatly benefit the American people. EPA also has embarked on several initiatives that enhance access to and transparency of data and science used to inform policy and regulatory decisions.
If the President were presented with H.R. 1030, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.