Stand up for science: Oppose the HONEST Act

The Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Lamar Smith, filed the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act (HONEST Act), a bill which negatively impacts the functioning of the EPA.

What is the HONEST Act? This deceptively titled bill effectively prevents the EPA from using the weight of scientific evidence to protect public health and the environment. Specifically, the HONEST Act would require that all raw data be made available to the public before a federal agency could use it. In addition, this bill makes industry trade secrets available upon request, a factor which could discourage the private sector and academic researchers alike from providing scientific information to the EPA.

The HONEST Act passed in the House this week and will move on to the Senate for consideration. At the same time, Trump signed an anti-environmental executive order this week that removes key protections for clean air. Many believe this anti-stewardship strategy is more about a power play in Washington than fulfilling promises to make American “energy independent”, and the measures are on the whole deeply unpopular across the U.S. Yet the strategy is playing out across multiple agencies beyond the EPA, including the Department of Energy, which this week banned the use of the terms “climate change”, “emissions reduction” and “Paris Agreement.” It’s time for people to speak up.

CALL TO ACTION

  • Call on our U.S Senators to stand up for scientific integrity and oppose the HONEST Act.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (202) 224-5251 (DC) // (801) 524-4380 (SLC) // (801) 375-7881 (Provo) // (435) 634-1795 (St. George) // (801) 625-5672 (Ogden) // (435) 586-8435 (Cedar City)
Sen. Mike Lee 202-224-5444 (DC) // 801-524-5933 (SLC) // 435-628-5514 (St. George) // 801-392-9633 (Ogden)

  • Contact your U.S. Representative to hold them accountable for their vote on the HONEST Act this week. ALL FOUR OF UTAH’S CONGRESSPEOPLE voted to pass the HONEST Act.

Rep. Rob Bishop (UT01) – D.C. (202) 225-0453, UT (801) 625-0107
Rep. Chris Stewart (UT02) – D.C. (202) 225-9730, UT (801) 364-5550
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT03) – D.C. (202) 225-7751, UT (801) 851-2500
Rep. Mia Love (UT04) – D.C. (202) 225-3011, UT (801) 996-8729

Not sure who your U.S. Representative is? Find out here.

Talking Points

– Providing raw scientific data to the public for non-scientific scrutiny doesn’t make sense. Scientific data already passes through a series of  requirements in order to ensure it has met standards set by scientists in that field. Raw data is then collected and analyzed in studies and reports that are peer reviewed by other experts in the scientific field. The scrutiny of Congress in examination of raw data would insert non-expert, non-scientific and political viewpoints into what should be a scientific discussion.

– Although the EPA does collect some of its own data, the EPA actually relies heavily on studies and research conducted independently by scientists around the country. The HONEST Act attacks science by casting doubt on the integrity of data collected by anyone from EPA scientists to independent scientists and by calling into question the integrity of the overall scientific process and the checks and balances that scientific peer review already provides.

– The trade secret availability provision would discourage companies and academics from providing the best available science to the EPA, preventing the agency from making the best science-based decisions in its mission to protect human health and the environment.

– The HONEST Act is directly at odds with President Trump’s stated desire to create a more efficient government as this bill adds unnecessary and burdensome redundancy to the process of promoting clean air and clean water through scientific channels.

In case you haven’t heard what else the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has done to alter scientific progress this year, here are some examples:

– The Science Committee attacked scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for producing policy-relevant climate science, demanding to see their email communications.

– The Committee targeted the Union of Concerned Scientists for having spoken with state attorney generals about the role of ExxonMobil in selling a product they knew to be harmful due to the risks of climate change.

– Chairman Smith previously attempted to interfere in the National Science Foundation’s grant process, ridiculing scientists’ work that he thought sounded silly (without, of course, speaking with the researchers themselves).

We must protect scientific integrity. Contact our congressional representatives!


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