PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

S. 544: The Secret Science Reform Act of 2015

By at 28 April, 2015, 7:43 am

The Honorable John Barrasso

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Senator Barrasso:

On behalf of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) and our 100,000 members nationwide, thank you for introducing the “Secret Science Reform Act of 2015” (S. 544). SBE Council strongly supports this legislation.

This important bill is a needed and reasonable measure that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fully disclose and make publicly available the scientific and technical information it uses as a basis for specific regulatory proposals. Under S. 544, the EPA would not be able to propose, finalize, or disseminate any regulatory action unless all supporting scientific information is identified and made available for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results. The explosive growth and impact of EPA’s rulemakings make S. 544 more critical than ever, especially given the ambiguous and mystery science that is used as a basis for their regulatory proposals.

Small business owners, workers and the public must be confident that the uptick in costly and intrusive EPA actions have been vetted through a transparent and inclusive process, and are rooted in legitimate science.

Consider the controversy over the secretive process used to establish a highly speculative cost estimate called the “social cost of carbon” (SCC) measuring the benefits of reducing carbon emissions. This is a significant concern for small businesses given that EPA’s greenhouse gas regime will eventually cover the entire economy, including direct, negative impacts on manufacturing, oil and gas, and many other businesses. Smaller firms overwhelmingly populate these industries. For example, 75.3 percent of U.S. manufacturing employer firms have less than 20 workers, according to the latest Census Bureau data, and within the mining, quarry, and oil and gas extraction sector, 82.9 percent of employer firms have less than 20 workers.

It is important to note that the general public lacks confidence with, and has deep concerns about, the federal regulatory process. SBE Council’s Center for Regulatory Solutions survey on regulation last year revealed widespread public concerns about how regulations are crafted and enacted:

• 72% believe that government regulations are “created in a closed, secretive process.”

• 64% said government regulations on business are “created in a way that does not consider their real-world impact.”

• 68% believe that government regulations on business are “created by out-of-touch people who are trying to push a political agenda.”

• An overwhelming 84% believed that there are too many special interests involved in shaping government regulations.

 

The impact of excessive regulation on small business competitiveness and survival, combined with how Americans view the regulatory process should push government officials to be open in all aspects of regulation. The federal government works for the American people. Objections to S. 544 based on the rationale that it would “unnecessarily burden regulators” is an inane excuse for those who feel government actions should not be transparent or questioned. Moreover, the fragility of the American economy demands due diligence by government regulators in their work.

The “Secret Science Reform Act of 2015” is a valuable, common sense reform measure that all members of Congress need to support.

Please let SBE Council know how we can help advance S. 544 into law. Thank you for your leadership and support of America’s entrepreneurs.

Sincerely,

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO

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