More Than 200 Attend Smith’s EPA Regulation Roundtable in Kerrville

This week I hosted a public meeting with special guest Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. More than 200 people showed up for the event, “Reining in the EPA: A Regulation Roundtable,” which was held at the Cailloux Theater in Kerrville, Texas on the evening of Wednesday, April 8th.

The public has a right to know about the drastic and costly regulations that the EPA is crafting behind closed doors. These proposals will have far-reaching impacts that will be felt in communities all across Texas and the nation. We must ensure that our nation’s policies serve the interest of the American people – not an extreme political agenda. As chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that agencies like the EPA are operating in the most efficient, effective, and accountable manner possible.  

Attendees heard from a panel of experts, including Texas Public Policy Foundation Director of the Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment, Kathleen Hartnett White; Executive Manager for Strategic Communications and Public Affairs of the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, LaMarriol Smith; General Manager and CEO of the Kerrville Public Utility Board, Tracy McCuan; President of Sauer Cattle Company and owner of Hill Country Titles, Gordon E. Sauer; and Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller.

I recently subpoenaed the EPA after the agency refused to hand over information related to almost 6,000 deleted text messages linked to the agency’s top official, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. This is not the first time the agency has come under fire for lack of openness: in 2012, former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was caught using an alias email address, using the fake name “Richard Windsor.” I has also previously subpoenaed the agency for failure to turn over the underlying scientific data used for making costly regulations.

On March 2, 2015, a federal court issued an opinion raising concerns about the EPA’s process for responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and calling the EPA’s handling of a 2012 FOIA request “suspicious.” The Center for Effective Government also recently gave the EPA a grade of “D” in its report for providing access to information.

Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) discusses the potential impacts of EPA proposals with Hill Country residents following Wednesday night’s forum, “Reining in the EPA: A Regulation Roundtable.”

The House of Representatives also recently approved my Secret Science Reform Act to increase transparency and accountability at the EPA. This legislation would require the EPA to base all regulations on scientific data that is open to the public – something the agency has refused to do up to this point. A 2013 poll from the Institute of Energy Research found that 90 percent of Americans agree that studies and data used to make federal government decisions should be public. Last year, I exposed extensive maps of U.S. waters and wetlands that the EPA commissioned – and tried to keep hidden – while working to update its controversial Waters of the U.S. Rule.


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