Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Your Republican Congress at Work

While everyone’s attention was focused on the Senate and the Keystone XL decision on Tuesday, some pretty shocking stuff was quietly going on in the House of Representatives. The GOP-dominated House passed a bill that effectively prevents scientists who are peer-reviewed experts in their field from providing advice — directly or indirectly — to the EPA, while at the same time allowing industry representatives with financial interests in fossil fuels to have their say. Perversely, all this is being done in the name of “transparency.”

Bill H.R. 1422, also known as the Science Advisory Board Reform Act, passed 229-191. It was sponsored by Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT), pictured. The bill changes the rules for appointing members to the Science Advisory Board (SAB), which provides scientific advice to the EPA Administrator. Among many other things, it states: “Board members may not participate in advisory activities that directly or indirectly involve review or evaluation of their own work.” This means that a scientist who had published a peer-reviewed paper on a particular topic would not be able to advise the EPA on the findings contained within that paper. That is, the very scientists who know the subject matter best would not be able to discuss it.   h/t The Powerhouse

​House Passes A Bill That Restricts Scientists From Advising The EPA

Established by Congress in 1978, the EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB) is authorized to: Review the quality and relevance of the scientific and technical information being used by the EPA. Provide science advice as requested by the EPA Administrator. Advise the agency on broad scientific matters. 

In other words, the SAB exists not to advocate any particular policy, but to evaluate whether the best science is being used in agency decisions. But what constitutes the "best science" is an increasingly relative concept on Capitol Hill these days. And Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) claimed that he was making it better when he sponsored H.R. 1422, otherwise known as the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2013. 

 Currently, the SAB does include advisors with industry expertise. Of the board's current 51 members, which are appointed by the EPA Administrator for three-year terms, three have industry expertise. But Stewart says that's not enough. "All we're asking is that there be some balance to those experts…We're losing valuable insight and valuable guidance because we don't include them in the process."


Infidel753 said...

I remember this. Interesting that they passed it a couple of weeks after the election -- perhaps they knew how embarrassing it could be and held off until it couldn't be used against them in the campaign. It should be among the litany of stupidities attached to them for 2016, though.

I assume that the EPA, which is presumably run by sane people, has found ways of working around this. But it shows that deep down the global-warming denialists know that their position is nonsense. Why ban expert testimony unless you know it's likely to go against you?

Anonymous said...

I heard about the topic a while ago. In my history whenever I've done something that backward Murphy comes by to show me the error of my ways.

I fear for our nation if these restrictions in the name of greed continue. I'm hoping for more logical brains, capable of accepting reality in all it's colors and flavors. I'm preparing for mama nature to spank the earth. Kind of looking forward to it honestly. Humans don't learn unless challenged.


Anonymous said...

It would be swell if there was a way to conduct business and governance without those who will not cooperate.

But Connie , aren't you be intolerant too? Now? You betcha by golly I am. Until every citizen has equal rights, until science isn't looked at like some religious cult my tolerance for stupid is ended. I didn't start this fight. I was even taught from birth not to fight. However I am done being vilified because I exist.

I didn't start this fight but my pretty floral bonnet I will do my best to end it.

Connie (again)

okjimm said...

"Your Republican Congress at Work"??????????

kind of a oxymoron if you ask me.

BB-Idaho said...

We recall this is the same mindset that passed a law preventing the CDC/NIH from collecting information on gun
deaths and injuries. How puerile,
how destructive- to outlaw science when you disagree with
its conclusions. How distressing the electorate permits it. IMO
Susan Jacoby
nailed it.

Gandolf said...

Anyone watch House of Cards? Superb series. Certainly looks like Washington circa late 20th early 21st century.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Infidel it appears that in this Age of GOP Crazy, the stupider the tea wingers get, the more of them are elected.

Connie, "Humans don't learn unless challenged." We should all be geniuses by now. How many more challenges can this country take? The GOP Congress has shown its inability to govern, or do anything beneficial for Ameria. John Boehner has proved himself to be a walking disaster.

okjimm, it's enough to make me want to have another beer. And it's not even 9 AM.

BB-Idaho, the GOP bristles when it's called anti-science, then it goes and behaves like something out of the Dark Ages. Ben Carson, the doctor they believe is brilliant, just came out with another stupid statement saying prison makes people gay and homosexuality is a choice. Of course he'll NEVER be president, but he's an example of someone who can be mechanically brillianat--operate on brains, but really dumb in other areas. He other claim that science could be propaganda is another example of his ignorance.

skudrunner said...

"John Boehner has proved himself to be a walking disaster."

Totally agree with you on this. He has been a miserable failure and if the GOP was not hell bent on self destruction they would make a change. They still have Mitchie as well so they are surrounded.

Need to start a campaign to ghe princess warren to run in 2016 or settle for Obiden. Hillary seems to be steping all over herself.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Gandolf, I saw the original BBC "House of Cards," and I watched the first season of the Kevin Spacey version.

Gandolf: "Certainly looks like Washington circa late 20th early 21st century."

You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment.