WATCH: Rep. Sherrill Grills EPA on Agency’s Plans to Limit Science

November 13, 2019
Press Release
Highlights DoD’s Concerns with Proposed EPA Rule

Representative Sherrill speaks at the House Science Committee

Washington, DC -- In the House Science Committee today, Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) grilled Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisor Dr. Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta on the agency’s proposal that would limit the research that the government could use to determine public health regulations.

The EPA proposal, titled Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, would require researchers to make all data, including personally identifiable health information, publicly available before the agency could consider a study’s results. This proposal would make it more difficult to enact public and environmental health rules because many studies showing the links between pollution and disease rely on personally identifiable information.

Military operations and facilities present unique environmental challenges, and the Department of Defense (DoD) funds a great deal of important public health research relevant to its operations. The DoD submitted one of the 600,000 comments on the EPA’s proposed rule, criticizing the fundamental premise of the rule by saying: “We do not believe that failure of the Agency to obtain a publication’s underlying data from an author external to the Agency should negate its use.”

Excerpt from the hearing:

SHERRILL: Can you explain why it seems that the DoD is concerned with protecting the health and wellness of our nation’s soldiers and families, and yet it appears from some of what we are seeing from this rule that the EPA is not as concerned?

ORME-ZAVALETA: EPA’s mission again is to protect public health and the environment. And that applies for civilian and military.

SHERRILL: So it is a huge concern, I would think, that the DoD has some real concerns with this proposed rule. Dr. Orme-Zavaleta, can you confirm that the EPA will fairly consider any further comments submitted by the DoD about the supplemental proposed rule? Because our soldiers and families really deserve nothing less.

ORME-ZAVALETA: We are looking seriously at all the comments that we receive, and so additional comments that come in we are weighing very carefully.

Representative Mikie Sherrill is the Chairwoman of the House Science Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, and member of the House Armed Services Committee.