nihscientistYou would think that scientists who have worked on a specific topic would be the experts to ask about how it works and should be regulated, but if you think this: you would be in disagreement with the majority of US congressmen in the House Of Representatives.

The House has passed H.R. 1422 in a 229-191 vote, which places restrictions on actual scientists but creates room for experts with overt financial ties to the industries affected by EPA regulations. Ironically, this bill is being marketted under the guise of “transparency,” when it will likely lead to less transparent and more biased discussed in regard to environmental policy.

Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, argued that the board’s current structure is problematic because it  “excludes industry experts, but not officials for environmental advocacy groups.” Put into cleartext: current laws put more of an emphasis on reasonably independant experts than on industry lobbyists.

The White House has threatened to veto the bill, saying it would “negatively affect the appointment of experts and would weaken the scientific independence and integrity of the SAB [Scientific Advisory Board].”  This isn’t actually a rash threat, since the bill literally forbids scientists from providing input into research they are directly or indirectly involved with, meaning that the most established experts in a given field will be barred from speaking about it. Instead, the Scientific Advisory Board will have to be briefed by experts who have had nothing but theoretical contact with the topics they are discussing, and would more  often than not lack the type of experience coming from a scientist who knows more about the topic than is written in the studies.