Apr 3, 2017

H.R. 1430, Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment (HONEST) Act of 2017

​H.R. 1430 would amend the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating a "covered action" unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support that action is publicly available online in a manner that is sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results. Covered actions would include assessments of risks, exposure, or hazards; documents specifying criteria, guidance, standards, or limitations; and regulations and regulatory impact statements.
Although H.R. 1430 would not require the EPA to disseminate any scientific or technical information that it relies on to support covered actions, the act would not prohibit the agency from doing so. Whether the EPA would choose to disseminate such information would determine the cost of implementing H.R. 1430.
Based on information from the EPA and other federal agencies, as well as organizations and researchers in the scientific community that publish in peer-reviewed journals, CBO estimates that the agency could spend between a few million dollars per year to more than one hundred million dollars per year over the 2018-2022 period to ensure that data and other information underlying studies are publicly available in a format sufficient to allow others to substantially reproduce the results of studies. That range reflects the uncertainty about the number of studies the EPA would choose to rely on to support covered actions, the extent to which the agency would invest in data infrastructure to make researchers' data and models available to others, and in the number of covered actions the agency would issue in future years. The range also reflects the uncertainty in the extent to which the research community would tailor their data management activities to comply with the requirements of the act and how quickly those changes might occur.
EPA officials have explained to CBO that the agency would implement H.R. 1430 with minimal funding and generally would not disseminate information for the scientific studies that it uses to support covered actions. That approach to implementing the legislation would significantly reduce the number of studies that the agency relies on when issuing or proposing covered actions for the first few years following enactment of the legislation. In total, CBO estimates the EPA would spend about $5 million over the 2018-2022 period; such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.​