Rep. Smith (R-TX) Rips Secret Science, Unconstitutional Regulations

Published June 23, 2015

Stuart Varney, host of FOX Business’ Varney & Co., complained about President Barack Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders during the June 10 broadcast of the show, focusing specifically on the administration’s climate change regulations.

Varney said to his final guest, Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, “My point is that there’s nothing you can do about this, is there?”

Smith responded with a long list of actions his committee was undertaking to rein in the administration.

In his luncheon keynote address at the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change, Smith detailed his efforts to counteract the Obama administration’s executive actions and graciously opened his remarks with “appreciation of the Heartland Institute’s fact-checking of the administration’s claims about climate change.”

Reining in the EPA

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee has jurisdiction over federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Smith said, “As chairman, it is my responsibility to ensure that the federal government is efficient, effective, and accountable to the American people. Regulations should be based on sound science, not science fiction.”

EPA behaves otherwise, hiding regulatory data and silencing its taxpayer-funded scientists.

Smith told the conference, “Earlier this year, the House passed the Secret Science Reform Act of 2015, which will greatly improve transparency and accountability at EPA. The bill simply requires EPA to base its regulations on publicly available data, not secret science.”

Smith says EPA has gone rogue.

“When EPA refused to release the data it uses to justify its Clean Air Act regulations, the Science Committee issued its first subpoena in 21 years to retrieve the information,” said Smith.

Reports then surfaced EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy deleted almost 6,000 text messages sent and received by her on her official agency mobile device.

In response, Smith delivered the laugh line: “Yet she claimed—unbelievably—that only one was official. That was when we realized that she and Hillary Clinton must share the same private e-mail server.”

EPA ignores the Law

Despite issuing a second subpoena in March 2015 to obtain McCarthy’s documents, the committee is still awaiting for delivery. Smith says McCarthy is not the first EPA official to disdain Americans’ right to know.

“In 2014, a federal judge held EPA in contempt for disregarding a court order not to destroy records,” said Smith.

“Last March, a federal judge called the EPA’s handling of a 2012 Freedom of Information Act request ‘suspicious,'” said Smith.

The court found, according to Smith, “‘The agency either intentionally sought to evade the [Freedom of Information Act] request in order to destroy documents or demonstrated extreme apathy and carelessness.’

“This same discredited EPA now seeks to pursue the most aggressive regulatory agenda in its 44-year history,” said Smith. “One regulation on the horizon is the Obama Administration’s sweeping new electricity regulation, the so-called Clean Power Plan. The president’s power plan is nothing more than a power grab to give the government more control over Americans’ daily lives. These regulations stifle economic growth, destroy jobs, and increase energy prices. That means everything will cost more—from electricity to gasoline to food.”

Control Water, Control People

In May, Smith said, “The EPA submitted its final rule to define the ‘Waters of the United States.’ This is the EPA’s latest attempt to expand its jurisdiction and increase its power to regulate American waterways, claiming unprecedented jurisdiction over many different bodies of water, including those that temporarily result from a ‘drizzle.’ The EPA actually uses the word, ‘drizzle.’

“The [Obama] administration’s regulations appear to be designed to achieve more government control of the lives of the American people, with little environmental benefit. This is the definition of all pain and no gain.”

Americans are noticing.

“Despite the intense media coverage given to climate change, the American people, for good reason, still are skeptical,” said Smith. “A recent Gallup survey revealed a 43 percent plurality of Americans feel climate change is ‘generally exaggerated,’ and only 31 percent think it is ‘generally underestimated.'”

The public has the power to change things.

Smith closed by saying, “That is why we need The Heartland Institute to continue to provide a fact-filled perspective that benefits the public and informs scientific debate. Thank you again for trying to prevent Americans from being burdened by many costly and unnecessary regulations that are often justified by spurious science and a liberal political agenda.”

True to his word, four days after the conference, Smith demanded EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy provide long-withheld documents by June 22, 2015, or face a court order to compel their production. 

Ron Arnold ([email protected]) is a free-enterprise activist, author, and commentator.