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Republicans aim to reform U.S. environment agency

By Tim Sandle     Mar 14, 2015 in Environment
Washington D.c. - Republican-led efforts to change the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s handling of science are underway. However, there is little sign that Obama will agree to the new measures.
President Obama is set to veto two bills to come from the U.S. congress. The bills are heavily backed by the Republicans. Both of the bills are aimed at changing practices at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The first bill would require that any actions by the agency be supported by publicly available data. The bill is called "Secret Science Reform Act of 2015."
The second bill aims to overhaul the EPA's scientific advisory board. This bill is called "EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015."
With the evidence transparency bill, advisers to Obama have stated in a brief: “The bill would impose arbitrary, unnecessary, and expensive requirements that would seriously impede the [EPA’s] ability to use science to protect public health and the environment. . . . For example, the data underlying some scientifically-important studies is not made broadly available in order to protect the privacy of test subjects, and modeling that EPA uses for a variety of purposes are not EPA property and therefore cannot be publicly released.” In short, the scientific advisory team to the president are telling him not to sign the bill.
This line of thought has been countered by the main supporter of the bill, Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). The politician argues that there are ways around privacy issues. Here she argues that study participants could agree to have their data public. She is quoted by ScienceInsider as saying: “Their specific participation isn’t necessary to have a successful research project."
With the second bill, Republicans think that the EPA board is too heavily slanted towards matters like global warming. However, the president’s advisers are gaining, indicating to Obama that he should reject the bill. They have said in a public announcement that the bill would “preclude the nomination of scientists with significant expertise in their fields.”
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