House Passes Legislation To Prohibit Regulation Based On "Secret Science"


Back in August House Republicans, including North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer, released what they described as secret maps created by the EPA in relation to controversial Waters of the U.S. regulations. Many believe those maps represent areas (and by areas I mean pretty much the entirety of North Dakota) the EPA intends to exercise regulation over if the EPA gets their way.

The maps were only made public after the EPA was badgered into releasing them by the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Now the House is taking action against the wider use of “secret science” – studies and research not available to the public – to justify regulation. Video of Rep. Kevin Cramer speaking on the floor of the House in favor of the legislation is above.

The legislation in question is the Secret Science Reform Act of 2014. It passed today on a largely party-line vote, 237-190.

“Time and time again, the EPA has refused to provide the scientific data they claim to be using to justify their regulatory decisions. Even after we voted for a subpoena in the House Science Committee, they have continued to insist on secrecy. If the EPA wants to tell North Dakota how to run our energy industry, operate our farms, and take care of our air and water, then we ought to at least be able to look at the data they’re using to draw their conclusions,” Cramer said in a press release applauding the passage of the legislation.

In his floor speech, he pointed out regulation that is taking place here in North Dakota right now based on studies that aren’t available to the public.

“In western North Dakota we have a brick plant in Hebron – Hebron Brick – that is subject MACT rule, a rule based on studies that are tightly held, and again, only available to the bureaucrats,” Rep. Cramer said in his floor speech. “We have countless acres of private farm land and ranch land in our state and states around us that have been owned privately for generations. It’s up for grabs if this Waters of the U.S. rule continues to go forward. It took forceful inquiry by the Science, Space and Technology Committee to find, to get, to reveal the secret maps the EPA was creating as part of this massive land grab.”

It’s really hard to believe that this sort of legislation is necessary. In fact, this runs contrary to the scientific process. One of the most important aspects of scientific research is the peer review process wherein findings are put before the public so that they can be reviewed and verified or rejected.

If scientific research is to be the basis of public policy, it should be public.