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Public Statements

In Support of H.R. 1287

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McINTYRE. Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in support of H.R.1287, the Sound Science Act of 2013. Congressman Stephen Fincher and I introduced this bill on March 20, 2013 to ensure the highest level of Scientific Integrity at our federal agencies.

Our bill is a sensible approach requiring federal agencies to develop scientific integrity policies that adhere to the scientific method, therefore maximizing the quality and integrity of science used in the regulatory decision-making process.

Mr. Speaker, this bill is a continuation of the efforts the Administration has put forth on the issue of scientific integrity. In March of 2009, President Obama issued a Presidential memorandum directing the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to require federal departments and agencies to develop procedures ``for restoring scientific integrity to government decision making.''

At the beginning of last year, the President continued this work by issuing Executive Order 13563, ``Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,'' which stated that each agency ``shall ensure the objectivity of any scientific and technological information and processes used to support the agency's regulatory actions.''
Since that process began, departments and agencies have developed their own policies to address the President's concerns. Unfortunately, not all agencies have made an equal commitment to scientific integrity.

In fact, earlier this month, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), released a report on the status of such policies--now four years after this process started. Unfortunately, a variety of Departments and agencies have received an unfavorable review from UCS, including the Department of Energy, Health and Human Services, and the USDA to name a few. UCS notes that these departments have developed ``policies that do not make adequate commitments to scientific integrity.''

This bill attempts to address some of the inadequacies highlighted by UCS and builds on the Administration's initiative by codifying the requirement that the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy compel each federal agency to develop guidelines regarding the scientific information used by federal agencies.
Additionally, this legislation clarifies that scientific information be supported by peer review when appropriate; ensures that scientific studies used in making decisions be disclosed to the public, and requires an opportunity for stakeholder input.

It also requires federal agencies to give greatest weight to information based on reproducible data that is developed in accordance with the scientific method.
Finally, the bill establishes any regulatory action in violation of an agency's internal scientific integrity guidelines be deemed arbitrary and subject to challenge by affected stakeholders.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this bill to ensure that government decisions are fact-based and made in sound science.

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