Mar 17, 2015

Transparency Isn’t Optional, It’s Necessary for the EPA

Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke on the House floor in support of H.R. 1029, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act.

McCarthy’s remarks are below, or watch them online here.

“I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his work. 

“You know, there’s a wise saying that one of the best assets of a good leader is a good advisor. Nobody can know everything, and advisors step in to give opinions and provide different perspectives for those who have to make decisions.

“History is filled with people or groups that failed because they never had their assumptions challenged.

“Unfortunately, this same failure can be seen in our own government.

“Back in 1978, Congress created the EPA Science Advisory Board to provide independent scientific advice to the Administration. Sadly, the independence has been compromised.

“Over the years, the Science Advisory Board has silenced voices of dissent, limited public participation in its decisions, and has shown potential conflict of interests. In fact, over half of the Board members have taken grant money from the EPA, the very agency they are supposed to provide impartial analysis to.

“And this isn’t chump change. Since 2000, board members have received roughly $140 million in taxpayer money from the EPA grants, according to the Congressional Research Service, and the research they are reviewing is often directly related to the money they received. 

“This isn’t transparent. This isn’t accountable. And this isn’t right.

“Today, we will consider a bill to set things right. We aren’t telling the Science Advisory Board what to say. We aren’t telling the EPA what to do. But we are demanding that the Board be transparent and independent, as it was originally intended.

“True science demands clarity and impartiality. The Science Advisory Board lacks both, and that needs to change. So, I thank the gentleman for his work bringing transparency, accountability, and efficiency back to the advisory board.

“I yield back.”