The U.S. House is expected to vote soon on a bill designed to enhance transparency at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) said recently that the House will take up a measure aimed at EPA’s “secret science” when Congress returns after the midterm elections.
As we’ve detailed before, EPA often fails to disclose to the public the science that serves as the basis for its regulations. The bill, the Secret Science Reform Act of 2014, would bar the EPA from proposing or finalizing any rule without first releasing all of the scientific information used to justify the rule.
Sadly, EPA’s lack of transparency is nothing new. Rather, it is endemic of a larger cultural problem throughout the agency. For instance, EPA has been accused of withholding important information from the public, such as when EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy deleted all work-related text messages from her EPA-provided cell phone—she claimed the messages were “personal” even though recipients included many of her coworkers.
This follows in the footsteps of Administrator McCarthy’s predecessor, Lisa Jackson, who resigned in 2012 after it was discovered that she was using an alias, “Richard Windsor,” and secret email address to conduct official agency business and, like McCarthy, illegally skirt disclosure requirements.
President Obama claimed that his administration would be the most transparent in U.S. history. However, when it comes to his EPA, the president has failed to back up his word. With billions of dollars in costs and thousands of jobs on the line, the American people deserve transparency and accountability from EPA.