On February 7, 2017, Lamar Smith was meeting in committee in D.C. after scheduling a hearing titled “Make EPA Great Again,” in which he accused the EPA of “pursuing a political agenda, not a scientific one.” Smith noted one example, the Clean Power Plant rules, which, he claimed were political in “setting impossible standards for emissions . . . [that would] reduce sea level rise by only 1/100 of an inch.”
Smith’s aim in all of this was to prevent the EPA from using studies that are not able to be replicated. Though this is generally a good idea, disallowing such studies to be considered at all prevents the inclusion of studies that contain confidential information about participants or from one-off tragedies like the Deep Horizon breach or the recent mine pollution of the Colorado River. Smith’s goal is to cripple the EPA in any way he can sell to Congress, so it is not surprising that these distinctions have been ignored.