NAS Endorses Secret Science Reform Act

Glenn Ricketts

Is a tax-supported federal regulatory agency – such as the Environmental Protection Agency – subject to public oversight?   Is EPA obliged to make public the scientific data on which its regulatory policies are based?  For NAS, the answer to both questions is unequivocally affirmative.  President Peter Wood recently joined a group of academics and scientists to sign a letter endorsing the Secret Science Reform Act, just approved this week by the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology

According to committee chairman and co-sponsor Lamar Smith (R. Texas), the bill is necessary because the EPA’s “regulatory process is both hidden and flawed.  It hides the data and then handpicks the scientists to review it.  Unfortunately, the EPA continues to resist basic accountability.”  At issue are the specific data cited by EPA in support of controversial greenhouse regulations, data which Smith and the bill’s supporters charge that the agency refuses to divulge.

Not everyone favored this appeal to transparency and accountability.  Ranking member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D. Texas) denounced the bill as “anti-science and anti-health,” and accused to the committee’s majority of harassing the agency.  Several major organizations lined up with Johnson, including the Union of Concerned Scientists and the American Lung Association.

But NAS, where we’ve frequently made use of public information laws, has long favored public accountability for public agencies.  That’s not to say that disclosure should be unrestricted, but the data requested from EPA fall well within the bounds of proper public scrutiny.  Taxpayers are entitled to know how their money is being used.

  • Share

Most Commented

October 11, 2021

1.

The Shame of MIT: Canceling Dorian Abbot

Professor Abbot was set to deliver MIT's prestigious Carlson Lecture—that is, until he was canceled for his views on DEI programs, earning him a prompt disinvitation....

October 5, 2021

2.

NAS Statement on Gender Ideology in Higher Education

The National Association of Scholars opposes the proliferation of gender ideology in American higher education....

September 9, 2021

3.

Winning the Cold Civil War

The threat from the illiberal left grows. How should we fight it?...

Most Read

May 15, 2015

1.

Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

October 15, 2021

2.

Tracking Cancel Culture in Higher Education

UPDATED: A repository of 194 professors, administrators, and students who have been canceled for expressing views deemed unacceptable by higher education ideologues....

October 21, 2021

3.

This Time We're Ready: The Re-Appointment of Catherine Lhamon

Catherine Lhamon is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Civil Rights. Her reappointment is disappointing, but this time we're ready to fight against her......