Denham Votes to Increase Transparency of Environmental Protection Agency

Courtesy of U.S. Representative Jeff Denham

U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) voted on bills this week to increase transparency at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specifically designed to reduce permitting delays for manufacturers.

“The politicized EPA has been responsible for far too many delays and breaches of the public trust,” said Denham. “The bills I’ve voted for this week are common-sense solutions that force the EPA to provide clear and transparent information to the American people.”

The Secret Science Reform Act, H.R.4012, which Denham voted for, gives independent scientists the opportunity to validate studies used by the EPA to make new regulations to ensure that the science behind proposed rules and guidance from the EPA is made available for independent review.

This act amends the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 prohibiting the EPA from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating a covered action unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support such action is specifically identified and made publicly available online in a manner that would be sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results.

The Science Advisory Board Reform Act, H.R.1422, as supported by Denham, is geared toward strengthening public participation and expanding requirements that would contribute to transparency in the selection process for the EPA’s Science Advisory Board members.

This act amends the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 revising the process of selecting members of the Science Advisory Board, guidelines for participation including the avoidance of making policy determinations or recommendations, communication of uncertainties, dissenting members' views, and periodic reviews to ensuring that such activities address the most important scientific issues affecting EPA.

The act also defines terms of office as the Advisory Board provides scientific advice to the Administrator of the EPA. It also prohibits federally registered lobbyists from being appointed to the Board.
He also voted in support of The Promoting New Manufacturing Act, H.R.4795, which is geared toward increasing transparency and reducing permitting delays for air permits required under the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review pre-construction permitting program.

The Act requires the EPA to publish on its website for Fiscal Year 2008 beyond, the total number of pre-construction permits issued annually under the Clean Air Act's New Source Review Program for the construction or modification of a major emitting facility or major stationary source; which would be any stationary facility or source of air pollutants which directly emits, or has the potential to emit, 100 tons per year or more of any air pollutant.

They would have to provide the percentage of permits issued within one year of the application, as well as average length of time that it takes for the EPA's Environmental Appeals Board to decide on the appeals of decisions granting or denying a permit.

“Valley farmers have seen the EPA’s overreach, whether it’s trying to regulate ponds and ditches or standing in the way of ag and manufacturing job creation,” said Denham.

The three bills were passed by the House of Representatives and were sent to the Senate for its approval.

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