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house Bill H.R. 1431

Should the EPA Science Advisory Board be Reformed?

Argument in favor

This bill will enhance the diversity of thought and perspective on the EPA's Science Advisory Board while also reducing conflicts of interest and expanding opportunities for public involvement.

operaman's Opinion
···
03/29/2017
Best idea ever. Since I find no specific mention of environmental protection on our Founding documents, let's follow the Constitution and leave it to the states as our founding Fathers wrote: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. Let Massachusetts worry about their bay, California about their rivers or Colorado about contaminated mined or ground water. We citizens do this with high tax states when we move to a red state. It's called the moving options. Eliminate the EPA for history.
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Tafinzer's Opinion
···
04/02/2017
The obvious conflict of interest in having scientists who receive funding from the EPA sit on the advisory board are crystal clear. This needs to be reformed.
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Mark's Opinion
···
03/29/2017
The EPA has been awful. They are a prime example of government overreach costing tax payers billions. They're also taking jobs from working men and women across our great nation. Trump is straightening the EPA out, getting them back to their only purpose which was to focus on clean air and clean water for the American people. It's about time we are getting back to operating efficiently. #PresidentTrump #Thankyou #Americafirst 🇺🇸
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Argument opposed

Keeping scientists who have received EPA grants off of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board would dilute the pool of talent available to consult on critical environmental protection issues.

Daniel's Opinion
···
03/29/2017
Contrary to what Judith wrote, this bill was not voted on until 3/30. This bill, like the so-called HONEST Act, is designed to reduce the effectiveness of EPA. It bars scientists without real conflicts of interest from contributing to EPA's work, while allowing industry representatives to press their views as long as they disclose their conflicts. It would undermine the rigorously scientific basis of EPA's work. It is part of a campaign to kill EPA, driven by an ideological opposition to all regulation that is based on the false premise that the cost of regulating always exceeds the benefit.
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Jessica's Opinion
···
03/29/2017
The EPA has become destructively anti-science. As a scientist, I am blown away at the utterly irresponsible actions taken by our government to cripple the EPA. The disdain for science from Scott Pruitt as EPA director is so strong that, if the EPA science board is reformed, there is no reason to believe the new members would even be scientists. Stop these disastrous changes to how we manage climate safety and mitigate climate change. The Department of Defense has listed climate change as one of the top ten most serious threats to American safety for DECADES. Do not replace the existing team of scientists on the EPA board. They are there because they are protecting our environment and our safety.
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Britta's Opinion
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03/29/2017
This is another attempt to silence the people that are smarter than you, have more REAL facts than you, and folks that have NO interest in serving your personal agendas. You are attempting to silence the people that know what damage is being done to our animals, our people, and our environment. Many of you did the right thing voting no on ACHA. Do the right thing again. Let the experts take care of our environment!!!
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Environment and Public Works
  • The house Passed March 30th, 2017
    Roll Call Vote 229 Yea / 193 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
    IntroducedMarch 8th, 2017

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What is House Bill H.R. 1431?

This bill would revise the process by which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chooses members for their Science Advisory Board (SAB) as it relates to the qualifications of members and the disclosures they're required to make. The EPA would be required to solicit nominations for membership from the public and relevant federal agencies, like the Depts. of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, and Health and Human Services. Nominees would be required to file a report disclosing their financial relationships and interests for a three year period prior to their nomination, and relevant professional activities or comments for a five year period.

Conduct guidelines would also be created for the Board that include:
  • Avoiding making non-scientific policy determinations or recommendations.

  • Communicating uncertainties in scientific findings and conclusions.

  • Allowing dissenting members’ views to be expressed.

  • Periodic reviews to ensure that the Board’s activities address the most important scientific issues affecting the EPA.

Impact

Members of the public who want to make a public comment on environmental reviews; members of the Science Advisory Board; people nominated for SAB positions; and the EPA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1431

$500.00 Thousand
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would cost less than $500,000 annually.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) introduced this bill to enhance transparency and increase the public's role in the EPA's science review process:
"The Science Advisory Board (SAB) provides valuable input used to justify policy decisions that impact the lives of millions of Americans. Unfortunately, limited public participation, EPA interference with expert advice, and conflicts of interest threaten to undermine the Board's independence and credibility... The safeguards provided in this bill will restore the SAB as an important defender of scientific integrity and promote more credible and balanced policy outcomes from the EPA."
The Union of Concerned Scientists has expressed opposition to this bill, which it said would "threaten the integrity of science advice at the EPA."  The UCS claimed that its enactment would discourage academic experts from participating in the SAB while encouraging more industry presence on the SAB, and unnecessarily prolongs the science advice process. Finally, the UCS believes that the bill would "not just impact potential SAB members but could change the way science informs policy at the EPA for the worse."

This legislation was passed by the House Science, Space, & Technology Committee on a vote of 19-14. It has the support of 28 cosponsors, including 27 Republicans and one Democrat.

Of Note: The EPA’s Science Advisory Board was created in 1978 to offer scientific advice to the Administrator of the EPA — reviewing technical information, research programs, and consulting the Administrator as necessary. Much of the Board’s research is done by subcommittees that are focused on specific issues related to environmental science.

A study of the SAB conducted by the Congressional Research Service found that over half of the SAB’s members received research grants from the EPA through their primary workplace. These grants, and concerns about Board members expressing strong policy preferences when they had only been asked for impartial analysis — have led to calls for reforms to eliminate conflicts of interest.

A previous version of this bill that made it through the House was threatened with a veto by the White House, saying that the bill would: 
"negatively affect the appointment of experts and would weaken the scientific independence and integrity of the SAB."

Media:
Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Creative Commons)

AKA

EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2017

Official Title

To amend the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 to provide for Scientific Advisory Board member qualifications, public participation, and for other purposes.

    Best idea ever. Since I find no specific mention of environmental protection on our Founding documents, let's follow the Constitution and leave it to the states as our founding Fathers wrote: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. Let Massachusetts worry about their bay, California about their rivers or Colorado about contaminated mined or ground water. We citizens do this with high tax states when we move to a red state. It's called the moving options. Eliminate the EPA for history.
    Like (46)
    Follow
    Share
    Contrary to what Judith wrote, this bill was not voted on until 3/30. This bill, like the so-called HONEST Act, is designed to reduce the effectiveness of EPA. It bars scientists without real conflicts of interest from contributing to EPA's work, while allowing industry representatives to press their views as long as they disclose their conflicts. It would undermine the rigorously scientific basis of EPA's work. It is part of a campaign to kill EPA, driven by an ideological opposition to all regulation that is based on the false premise that the cost of regulating always exceeds the benefit.
    Like (417)
    Follow
    Share
    The EPA has become destructively anti-science. As a scientist, I am blown away at the utterly irresponsible actions taken by our government to cripple the EPA. The disdain for science from Scott Pruitt as EPA director is so strong that, if the EPA science board is reformed, there is no reason to believe the new members would even be scientists. Stop these disastrous changes to how we manage climate safety and mitigate climate change. The Department of Defense has listed climate change as one of the top ten most serious threats to American safety for DECADES. Do not replace the existing team of scientists on the EPA board. They are there because they are protecting our environment and our safety.
    Like (371)
    Follow
    Share
    This is another attempt to silence the people that are smarter than you, have more REAL facts than you, and folks that have NO interest in serving your personal agendas. You are attempting to silence the people that know what damage is being done to our animals, our people, and our environment. Many of you did the right thing voting no on ACHA. Do the right thing again. Let the experts take care of our environment!!!
    Like (143)
    Follow
    Share
    THIS BILL SUBMITTED BY FRANK LUCAS (R OK.) HAS ALREADY BEEN VOTED ON AND PASSED !!!! WHY ARE YOU PRETENDING THAT WE CAN HAVE AN EFFECT ON OUR REPRESENTATIVES VOTE BY OUR VOTES HERE ON THIS NOW ?????????????????????????THIS IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE FOR WHY THE CONGRESS MUST HALT ALL BUSINESS UNTIL A CREDIBLE INVESTIGATION CAN BE DONE ON WHETHER WE HAVE TRAITORS LOYAL TO RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS ( IN OTHER WORDS ENEMIES )RUNNING THE COUNTRY OR NOT !!!! THIS BILL ALLOWS PRIVATE CORPORATE CONTROL OF THE EPA RATHER THAN THE SCIENTISTS THAT HAVE BEEN RUNNING IT !!! A DESTRUCTION OF THE RATIONAL SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO INFORMATION GATHERING AND PUBLIC INFORMATION. EFFECTIVELY UNDERMINING THE STRENGTHS OF OUR NATION !!!!!!!!! WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR FRANK LUKAS (R OK) ?????
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    This is not public policy, this is ideological warfare. This is not informed by acting on the best interest of the people. Do. Not.Pass.
    Like (92)
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    Why are Republicans determined to make protecting our environment a fight at all cost against the Democratic Party? Climate change is apolitcal fact, and does not have to be anti-business or anti-job growth. I have never been so disgusted with the Republican Party, showing they are only engaged in political rhetoric, and becoming draconian anti-science. How can they still have the nerve to state publically that there is no proof of climate change? Especially those representing voters in coastal states with all the coastal erosion? They only care about getting elected, they do not care about their state. I am very sad to see this in Florida. I was a Rubio supporter, but am no longer. Bilirakis is my representative, and he is simply a party line voter. I will not be voting Republican in Florida again, and have SO many friends who are switching parties simply over climate change.
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    I will not recommend any action that is intended to dismantle environmental protections.
    Like (62)
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    Global warming is real. Deal with it.
    Like (54)
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    Our planet should not be destroyed So Donald's wealthy friends can become more wealthy. Let's put those coal workers to work... making wind turbines, solar panels and geothermal plants.
    Like (49)
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    It is important to read the details on each bill not just touch the screen .....this one sounds like a yeah but after reading all of the details it is a nay.....the few extra minutes taken adds to informed citizens which are desperately needed in 2017...
    Like (37)
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    CEASE AND DESIST ALL LEGISLATIVE ACTION UNTIL AN INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETED. NAME A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR NOW!!!
    Like (28)
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    The obvious conflict of interest in having scientists who receive funding from the EPA sit on the advisory board are crystal clear. This needs to be reformed.
    Like (28)
    Follow
    Share
    The EPA has been awful. They are a prime example of government overreach costing tax payers billions. They're also taking jobs from working men and women across our great nation. Trump is straightening the EPA out, getting them back to their only purpose which was to focus on clean air and clean water for the American people. It's about time we are getting back to operating efficiently. #PresidentTrump #Thankyou #Americafirst 🇺🇸
    Like (26)
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    I support transparency, but it concerns me that the bill is authored by one of Scott Pruitt's homeboys. I can't trust climate change deniers working for industry to create and support a bill that would benefit the environment in the long run. As I follow the votes of my legislators, I am looking for evidence that they take the climate issue as seriously as I do after having spent 16 years living in the Arctic, where the damage is obvious.
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    another attempt to put industry shills in place to destroy the EPA's ability to protect people and our environment.
    Like (23)
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    The EPA consists of a group of unaccountable ideological scientist types that have no experience in reality or suffer any consequences of their decisions. This agency is unconstitutional at the federal level and must be defunded and eliminated with all control back to the states as provided for in the US Constitution.
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    Please leave the EPA alone. Stop the attack on science.
    Like (17)
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    Making your entire comment in caps does not make you right.
    Like (16)
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    This resolution is such a farce and insult to scientists. While the Republicans are busy furthering the deletion of all the publicly available research papers and data involving ALL that the EPA governs, I fail to understand the so called benefits. Let's not forget the other bills attached to Pruitt's move to continue to delete pertinent information from websites, as it pertains to climate change, as well as any newly appointed individuals will be required to sign non disclosure agreements, which is nothing more than a severely controlled gag order. Cast a no vote is only choice. This is America isn't it?
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