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H.R.1430 - Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act (HONEST Act)

Congress man and Senator Lamar Smith speaking into a microphone at an event.

To prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible.

You might favor this bill if:
►  You believe there is a need for a transparent and independent analysis from the EPA as the current regulatory process set in place is not up to par. Adding more steps to the regulatory process is a good idea to invite independent analysis. The sharing of confidential information is needed to have a true reproducible regulatory process.

You might oppose this bill if:
►  You believe this new process would add an unnecessary and burdensome process to an already demanding program and would discourage some to share information with the government because of it’s open intellectual property provisions. This would be a waste of taxpayer dollars and government resources because the current peer reviewed process is sufficient for the federal government to use.

The Honest Act would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from proposing, finalizing, or publishing any regulations based on science that "isn’t reproducible" or transparent. The bill aims to publicize the data gathered when building such regulations so it can be independently reviewed by the American public.

The text of the bill describes, that the science used by the EPA would then have to be:
- "The best available science";
- "Specifically identified"; and
- "Publicly available online in a manner that is sufficient for independent analysis and reproduction of the research results."

The major trade off in the bill, if enacted, is that the agency would now only rely on studies whose methods, materials, software code, and data are open and accessible. The reasoning behind this is to allow independent scientists from analyzing this data. Critics argue that this would bar many kinds of important scientific research and evidence from consideration. For instance, it could bar the EPA from utilizing studies that use medical records to create consumer protections based on those studies since medical records are confidential and cannot be legally released.

The bill details that "any trade secrets, personal, commercial, and/or financial information obtained from a person privileged or confidential, could be redacted prior to public availability, and in order to view such redactions, one would have to sign a confidentiality agreement with the EPA," which in layman terms says that the EPA would redact and sign a confidentiality agreement for any cases using trade secrets or privileged information. Critics argue that this is just a facade since the EPA administrator could just un-redact anything at will and redacting multiple studies would take not only someone knowledgeable in the science field, but a whole team of individuals.

The legislation would not apply retroactively to already existing regulations, it would only apply to newly issued regulations.

Sponsors of this bill claim an honest and open scientific bill is long overdue in the EPA and American taxpayers have been responsible for the bill for regulations and rules based on "hidden science" that has not been available for proper review by the public.

Those who oppose to the bill contend that the peer review process is sufficient for the federal government to use in issuing relevant science based rules while claiming it would add unnecessary and burdensome redundancy to the regulatory process, truly becoming a waste of taxpayer dollars and agency resources. If enacted, the legislation could discourage the academic and private sector from sharing information with the government because of its intellectual property provisions, therefore rendering the EPA useless.


Sponsored by: Rep. Smith, Lamar [R-TX-21].

Cosponsored by: 28 Rep / 1 Dem.

See list of cosponsors.

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