During a congressional hearing with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Democratic Congresswoman Donna Edwards (Maryland), claimed Congress has no authority to question the EPA's data and techniques.
"We've heard described on this committee and throughout the Congress, frankly, questions about EPA's reliance on faulty and secret science, questions about EPA's transparency and accountability.
"First of all, I want to thank you for the transparency and accountability the EPA has provided for the volumes of data and correspondence that this committee has received. And I'm just curious. Sometimes the correspondence asks for information. Sometimes for documents and data as evidenced by testimony, by questions here today.
"I'm a strong supporter of congressional authority but I really am concerned about whether we may be overstepping our authority in terms of what we're requiring of the agency. We're just one committee of many who's making these types of requests to the EPA. And so I was wondering if you could just tell me how much time and energy is spent by you and your colleagues into responding to these volumes of requests."
EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, a 30-year civil servant, responded that it is a significant burden to respond to Congressional requests for data.
The House Science, Space and Technology Committee is chaired by Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who started the hearing with a statement that democracy requires transparency and accountability. "The EPA is cloaked in secret science," Smith said. "It appears the EPA bends the law and stretches the science to justify its objectives."
Smith subpoenaed McCarthy to the hearing to respond to complaints that the EPA does not release data that can be independently verified. "Americans impacted by the agency's determinations have a right to see the data and to determine for themselves, independently, whether these regulations are based on sound science or a partisan agenda," Smith said.
Smith submitted into the record a letter from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that the data provided to them by the EPA lacks critical information for replicating the findings of the EPA.