Have Two Minutes? Call Congress, as the House is Voting on Whether to Paralyze the EPA

, , former deputy director, Center for Science & Democracy | November 18, 2014, 10:18 am EDT
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UPDATE, November 18, 6:30 PM (see below)

Today and tomorrow, the lame duck House of Representatives will vote on two disingenuous bills that would prevent the EPA from using the best available science to protect human health and the environment.

Please call your member of Congress and ask for a NO vote on the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act and the Secret Science Reform Act. More information and talking points are here.

Don't let Congress get away with sabotaging the science behind the EPA's work to protect our health and safety. Call Congress today. Photo: NIAID

Don’t let Congress get away with sabotaging the science behind the EPA’s work to protect our health and safety. Call Congress today. Photo: NIAID

Even if you think your member of Congress has already made up her or his mind, she or he needs to know we are watching. It’s clear that the House leadership is trying to throw down the gauntlet regarding the type of legislation they plan to advance in 2015, and are trying to figure out how radical they will be permitted to be.

Here’s the skinny on each bill:

The EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) Reform Act would expand corporate influence over the EPA by making it easier for scientists with financial ties to regulated industries to serve on the agency’s Science Advisory Board. At the same time the bill would make it more difficult for independent scientists to discuss their own research while advising the agency. This bill should receive a vote later today.

The Secret Science Reform Act would greatly limit the type of scientific information that the EPA can use to create and update public health protections, and would give businesses more ability to withhold critical data from the agency. We expect it to come up tomorrow.

The administration realizes what a bad deal this would be for the EPA, as President Obama has issued veto threats (here and here) for both bills.

If you care about limiting political and corporate influence over EPA science, call right now.

UPDATE, November 18, 6:30pm: The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act just passed the House. The good news is that it was almost exclusively a party line vote, with only one of the  four Democrats who voted for the bill returning to Congress in January (Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson). In addition, one Republican (New York Rep. Chris Gibson) voted against the bill. A lack of bipartisan support makes bills like these less likely to make it into law.

The second bill will be up tomorrow, so there’s still time to call your representative and urge a NO vote on the Secret Science Reform Act. You can also express your gratitude if your representative voted NO today and your disappointment if she or he voted YES. See how your representative voted.

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