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House Passes Stewart’s Bill that would Allow More Industry Reps Access to EPA Board

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Representative Chris Stewart (R-Utah)

The US House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday which could change the makeup of the board that oversees the Environmental Protection Agency. The legislation sponsored by Utah Congressman Chris Stewart opens up the possibility for more industry representatives to participate.

Republican Chris Stewart argued on the House floor that the EPA has pursued an over-reaching, economically threatening agenda, and that the agency needs better oversight. HR1422 would change the qualifications for those who serve on the EPA Science Advisory Board. Democratic Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas said the bill is a continuation of the Republican majority’s anti-science agenda, and that it will benefit industrial polluters over the American people.

“HR 1422 will allow the board to be stacked with industry affiliated representatives while making it more difficult for the experts from academia to serve on the board,” Johnson said.  

Stewart countered that the Science Advisory Board (SAB) needs a variety of perspectives, and that those with relevant expertise should be able to participate as long as they disclose their conflicts.

“The bill very clearly does not allow for the SAB to be stacked - to use her phrase- with industry experts. All we’re asking is that there be some balance,” Stewart said.

The bill passed the House 229 to 191. It now goes to the Senate for consideration. The Obama administration has threatened to veto if it passes both chambers.

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