|1:56 PM EDT||
Henry Waxman, D-CA 33rd
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.