Texas GOP Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, lambasted the Environmental Protection Agency for pursuing an activist policy without making public the research behind its decisions.
"As the Environmental Protection Agency moves forward with some of the most costly regulations in history, there needs to be greater transparency about the claimed benefits from these actions," Smith writes in The Wall Street Journal.
"Unfortunately, President Obama and the EPA have been unwilling to reveal to the American people the data they use to justify their multibillion-dollar regulatory agenda . . . Taxpayers are supposed to take on faith that EPA policy is backed by good science."
As part of that agenda, the EPA is imposing new ozone limits that will cost $90 billion a year, making the regulation the most costly in history, Smith says.
The agency has used two decades-old studies to justify almost every major air-quality regulation during the Obama administration, he says.
"For two years, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee has sought to make this information available to the public," Smith writes. "But the EPA has obstructed the committee's request at every step. To date, the committee has sent six letters to the EPA and other top administration officials seeking the data's release."
The issue isn't just transparency, Smith says. "The costs of these rules will be borne by American families. They deserve to know what they are paying for."
If the administration doesn't fork over the research by Wednesday, the science committee will issue a subpoena for it, Smith says.
Executive-branch rules going back to the Clinton administration require federally funded research to be made public, especially if it plays a role in regulations, Smith says.
"The data in question have not been subjected to scrutiny and analysis by independent scientists," he writes. "And the EPA does not subject its cost-benefit claims to peer review. This means we have no way of evaluating the quality of the science being used to justify the agency's claims."
There are legitimate concerns about the accuracy of the EPA's data, Smith says. The National Academy of Sciences in 2004 and President Barack Obama's Office of Management and Budget have raised serious questions about the research.
"The U.S. saw dramatic improvements in air quality well before the Obama administration came to Washington," Smith states. "Yet the White House has upped the ante, launching an aggressive anti-fossil-fuel, regulatory assault on affordable energy — while refusing to reveal the scientific basis for the campaign."
Colorado GOP Rep. Scott Tipton, chairman of the House Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade, takes the EPA to task for another reason. It's not considering small-business concerns as it moves forward with climate-control regulation changes, he says, according to The Hill.
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