Growing public support for environmental safeguards and renewable energy is growing by wide margins. According to a Hart Research Associates’ survey of possible 2016 voters, 87 percent of Americans endorse expanded renewable energy development and 82 percent wish the government would place limits on power plant carbon pollution. This support, however, is lost on many industry-backed legislators in both houses of Congress.
Bills introduced by these legislators claim to increase openness and accountability, as reported by The Huffington Post, but actually would block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies from putting into place science-based rules or even deter independent scientists from participating. Of these bills, three have already passed in the House, while three others have been proposed in the Senate, where they had died in previous sessions.
The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which passed in the House in 2011 then died in the Senate in 2013, was reintroduced back in January by such industry-backed legislators. This act would allow Congress to have the last word in major regulations.
"These bills are based on a set of false premises concerning the science advisory process for federal agencies," said Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and lead author of a Science article on congressional attacks on science. "Let's be clear about what's happening here: Special interests find the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and other laws that protect public health and safety inconvenient, so they're attacking the science to roll back those protections."
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