Southern Crop

Southern Crop

House Bill on EPA Science Board Heads to the Senate

A House-passed bill that would change the makeup of a board that offers scientific advice to the EPA may face better odds in the Senate than a previous version last session.
The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 1431), sponsored by Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), passed on a 229-193 House vote March 30.
It is similar to one passed in the last Congress by a 236-181 margin and would put in place new qualifications for board members—including disqualifying scientists who have EPA grants or contracts as having a conflict of interest.
The measure also would require that “at least ten percent of the membership of the Board are from State, local, or tribal governments.”
Backers says the bill aims to make the board more independent and accessible for public comment. Opponents say it would block scientists with expertise from serving on the board, increase industry’s influence and unnecessarily slow the board’s activities.

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