Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Chairman and my colleagues, as I rise in opposition to this amendment, the supporters would claim that it's about transparency. What it's really about is not transparency. It's about a way to block or delay critical EPA rules. That's what this whole bill is all about. The amendment does the same thing. They use [Page: H5286]
rhetoric about transparency to cloud the amendment's true impact.
The amendment would prevent EPA from using the best science available when implementing its public health laws. It accomplishes this by not allowing EPA to rely on any scientific study unless the agency can publish, on its Web site, all of the underlying data associated with that study.
Today, EPA prides itself on using the best science available. The Agency understands that ideology will not stand the test of time, but science will; and their rules and regulations have to be based on the science, so they gladly inform stakeholders and the public about the studies upon which they rely.
The underlying data to peer-reviewed studies is often not published. That's because the data sets underlying peer-reviewed scientific studies are the property of the scientists that spend their careers gathering that information. The EPA cannot require the scientists to give up their private information. Oftentimes, those studies involve going to a lot of people and trying to find out the impact of certain exposure to pollutants. Those people agree to the study on the basis that this information
about them will not be made public. But this amendment would say it would be impossible for EPA to use gold-standard scientific studies available to them unless they post this other data on their Web site.
Why do we want to prevent EPA from using high-quality scientific studies to set new pollution standards?
This is an issue that came up many years ago. In 1997, EPA used a study conducted by researchers at Harvard to set a new air quality standard for particulate matter. They did a rigorous peer-reviewed study that was conducted over a period of 16 years. The Harvard people showed conclusively that exposure to particulate matter in the air can kill people, while polluters said: We don't want EPA to issue this rule, it's going to cost us money.
So they said that EPA should publish all of the Harvard scientists' data, claiming that the scientists were keeping a secret. Well, the data is the work product and property of the Harvard scientists, not EPA. The agency couldn't release that information. They're relying on the Harvard scientists to give independent scientists access to the data after the scientists signed a confidentiality agreement. So independent scientists spent the next 3 years reanalyzing the data, and came to exactly the
There should be no objection to EPA relying on studies like this one. It's a long-term study with a huge sample. This is exactly the kind of rigorous review we expect of EPA. I urge opposition to this amendment.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 15 seconds to say nothing can be further from the truth. There is a specific provision in this amendment that says you shall not disclose anything for which the disclosure would violate your commitments under Federal law. All we're asking is for whatever EPA saw, whatever the agency saw to make their decision. If it was good enough for the agency, shouldn't it be good enough for Congress as well?
With that, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Cassidy).
Mr. CASSIDY. Mr. Chairman, I cannot understand why somebody would object to this. The bill is about transparency, and this amplifies that transparency. EPA can impose rules which cost tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars on the U.S. economy. Those expenses translate into jobs lost.
Having access to the underlying information, and the estimates of cost and benefits, is critical to know why that is. And as my colleague said, there is no reason to have to reveal information about individuals. And let me just point to the medical literature. In the medical literature, there is a push that when the Federal Government funds research, that that underlying data is made subject, is made available to the general public. When the FDA reviews drugs, FDA will look at underlying data.
So why would we require it for medications, which obviously affect many people, but not for the EPA. Having methodology which is transparent is absolutely essential in modern scientific literature. I don't see why there is an objection to it unless the hope is that EPA can satisfy an ideological bent without having to justify it.
This amendment will provide more transparency for EPA's billion-dollar rules. I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on the amendment and ``yes'' on the underlying bill. The American people cannot afford to have jobs shipped overseas or have their economy otherwise wrecked. More rationality, transparency, and accountability must be brought to the EPA and its rulemaking process.
Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Chairman, the fact of the matter is that EPA does not have this underlying data. It doesn't belong to EPA. It belongs to the scientists who did the study.
Consider this issue in a different context. If a pharmaceutical manufacturer wants to bring a new product to market, they would never be required to post all of their underlying data on the public Web site in order for FDA to rely on it. There's no other agency that would be held to such an unreasonable requirement as this amendment would impose on EPA. They review the data, but they don't put it on their Web site. EPA does not have the underlying data, and they can't require that the owners
of the underlying data who did the study, often based on confidential agreements for those who participate in the study, they can't require that study be given to them. They are relying on the scientific data and the study results.
I think all this would do is make it more difficult for EPA to protect the public health.
I yield back the balance of my time.