WASHINGTON, DC – The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, under the chairmanship of Senator James Lankford (R-OK), today held a hearing to examine how agencies use scientific information when making regulatory decisions. The hearing also analyzed how past administrations have encouraged the use of sound science, and steps that Congress should take to ensure agencies use the best available information and apply it in a transparent manner. 

“The American people should be confident that when agencies regulate, they rely on up-to-date, accurate, and unbiased information,” said Lankford. “Unfortunately, agencies occasionally use hidden science to support their regulatory decisions instead of transparent conclusions, data, and methods. Agencies should use the best available science that has been peer-reviewed by an independent third-party, make sure conclusions are verifiable and reproducible, and assure the data is transparent and publically available. Transparency and accountability in rulemaking will result in better regulations. Science cannot determine policy, but science should inform the policy-makers. The testimony from today’s hearing confirmed that when agencies issue regulations that place legally-binding requirements on the American people, the data the agency uses should be publically available for independent third-party review. I appreciate the input from today’s witnesses and my colleagues. We should all agree that transparent, verifiable, and reproducible science must be a foundational part of all good science and the rulemaking process.”

Senator Lankford introduced a package of regulatory improvement bills yesterday aimed at improving the federal rulemaking process so the final regulations work better for the American people. The package included the Better Evaluation of Science and Technology (BEST) Act (S.578), which would apply the same scientific standards found in the Toxic Substances Control Act to all rulemaking in the entire federal government.

Notable Comments from Witnesses:

Susan Dudley, Director of The George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center said, “Effective regulatory policy that focuses resources on addressing real threats to public health and the environment depends on reliable scientific information and transparent policy choices. Unfortunately, such regulations are often the subject of heated debate, involving accusations of ‘politicized science.’ Problems arise when political decision-makers attempt to distort what scientific studies conclude, but also when scientists and others attempt to exert influence on policy decisions by selectively presenting, or even distorting, scientific findings.”


Dr. Andrew A. Rosenberg, Director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists said, “Using science to inform policy decisions and involving the public throughout the decision-making process is critical for public trust in the operations of the government and upholds our democratic principles. My experience as a scientist and manager has affirmed that good governmental decisions require the best scientific and technical information available, unfettered by political, financial, or ideological influence.”


Dr. Nancy Beck, Senior Director of Regulatory Science Policy at the American Chemistry Council, said, “The American Chemistry Council supports actions to enhance the integration of the best available scientific knowledge and weight of the evidence methods as the foundation for regulatory decision making across Federal Agencies. We also support improving the technical quality and objectivity of Agency evaluations, particularly through enhancing the transparency of how the science is being considered, interpreted, and evaluated.”


CLICK HERE to view the full hearing video and opening statements.




For more information about Senator Lankford, visit: www.lankford.senate.gov