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Public Statements

Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HARRIS. Mr. Chairman, the sad fact is that the Environmental Protection Agency bases its regulations on data and modeling that is often withheld from the public. My amendment simply requires that the Environmental Protection Agency make available to the public the data that regulations are based on and to follow its own guidelines and submit regulatory impact analyses to peer review. It's my hope that transparency, sound science and peer review are principles that everyone can support.

For example, it is frequently claimed that the Clean Water Act generates benefits that outweigh costs by a 30-1 ratio, but almost 90 percent of these claimed benefits are based on two studies whose underlying data has never been made public. I can verify this firsthand because for the last year I've asked the administration at committee hearings and on the record for this information and have been repeatedly rebuffed. This is not an acceptable way to run a regulatory agency that impacts our country's health, economy, unemployment--as we heard from the gentleman from Michigan--and ability to compete internationally.

Both President Obama's senior science adviser and the head of EPA's independent science advisory board agreed with me at recent hearings that the scientific data used by the government to justify its regulatory actions should be made publicly available. EPA also states in its own Peer Review Handbook that ``one important way to ensure decisions are based on defensible science is to have an open and transparent peer review process.'' Unfortunately, when EPA conducts a cost-benefit analysis for these major Clean Air Act rules, they are not subjected to peer review.

Mr. Chairman, we live in a world where people increasingly expect direct access to information. Government regulations should be able to withstand public scrutiny. If the benefits outweigh the costs, then prove it; and if you believe that a government regulation is justified, then you should have nothing to hide.

I respectfully request support for my amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. HARRIS. Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee do now rise.

The motion was agreed to.

Accordingly, the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. Pompeo) having assumed the chair, Mr. Woodall, Acting Chair of the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union, reported that that Committee, having had under consideration the bill (H.R. 3409) to limit the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to issue regulations before December 31, 2013, under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, had come to no resolution thereon.

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