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GOP Bill To Outlaw EPA 'Secret Science' That Is Not Transparent, Reproducible

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the as-if-it-were-that-simple dept.

Earth 618

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Fox News reports that Republican lawmakers in the House are pushing legislation that would prohibit the EPA from proposing new regulations based on science that is not transparent or not reproducible. The bill introduced by Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., would bar the agency from proposing or finalizing rules without first disclosing all "scientific and technical information" relied on to support its proposed action. "Public policy should come from public data, not based on the whims of far-left environmental groups," says Schweikert. "For far too long, the EPA has approved regulations that have placed a crippling financial burden on economic growth in this country with no public evidence to justify their actions." The bill, dubbed the Secret Science Reform Act of 2014 (HR 4012), would prohibit the EPA's administrator from proposing or finalizing any rules unless he or she also discloses "all scientific and technical information" relied on by the agency in the regulations' development including all data, materials and computer models. According to Schweikert's press release 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 made public. "Provisions in the bill are consistent with the White House's scientific integrity policy, the President's Executive Order 13563, data access provisions of major scientific journals, the Bipartisan Policy Center and the recommendations of the Obama administration's top science advisors.""

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"Not Reproduclibe" (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46194993)

Sorry EPA, but the studies sponsored by the [insert industry] industry couldn't reproduce the findings.

You cannot regulate them.

This will be one GIANT loophole for industry.

Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (-1, Offtopic)

sliceoflife (2814511) | about 10 months ago | (#46195027)

Please don't post sensible replies like this. These are the stuff that they are able to "sell". This is what will ensure /. demise. Are you not aware what is going down? With no discernable "product" (aka "audience") slashdot towers may realise our actual worth, even if it might be too late Fuck Beta!

Re: "Not Reproduclibe" (4, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 10 months ago | (#46195029)

That's the point. I bet the open access requirement is also harder to reach than it seems.

Another bill that looks helpful on the surface but really just supports their agenda.

Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#46195033)

Why only the EPA?

Why not all the other stuff the government does?

Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (5, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#46195087)

Let's start with trade negotiations. No secretive negotiations whose results are only foisted on congress and the people after they've been finalized. "Take it or leave it." Screw that. All drafts, preliminary agreements, and the results of negotiations to be made public as they're ongoing.

Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (4, Insightful)

John Jorsett (171560) | about 10 months ago | (#46195303)

Why only the EPA?

Why not all the other stuff the government does?

You have to start somewhere, and if it's successful in this case, then the rest can follow. What surprises me about this story is that I thought all that data had to be disclosed already. How stupid is it that we have regulations based on data that's isn't made available for independent verification?

You think the GOP would require this of Big Pharma (1, Flamebait)

taxman_10m (41083) | about 10 months ago | (#46195357)

They'd call that job killing regulation.

Re: "Not Reproduclibe" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195417)

Independent verification from a company who has financial interests is not very independent to me. Funny how it's the science deniers who want this bill in order to deregulate environmental protections.

Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (3, Insightful)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 10 months ago | (#46195069)

So long as all sides in a controversy have to use open science, this will not happen. You have nothing to fear because all real science is open.

Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195213)

^ This. Make everything possible that the government does as open and transparent as possible. They represent us (or are supposed to) so we should be informed about what they're doing.

Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (0)

PRMan (959735) | about 10 months ago | (#46195219)

No, it's not. Science is very political these days in every area. There is a lot of science that is easily reproducible that cannot be taught in a school science classroom because it came from a "creationist". Like you, I demand that ALL science should be uncensored. We should keep (and teach) ONLY that which can be reproduced and we should reject all explanations that cannot. It's the only way to find the truth.

Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195349)

There is a lot of science that is easily reproducible that cannot be taught in a school science classroom because it came from a "creationist". Like you, I demand that ALL science should be uncensored.

No, there is a lot of bullshit being passed off as science by creationists which can't be taught in school science because IT'S NOT FUCKING SCIENCE.

Creationism is NOT science, it makes no predictions which can be tested, and it by design is NOT falsifiable.

Name one non-trivial and reproducible hypothesis given in creationism which actually is 'scientific' -- you can't, because there aren't any.

Creationism boils down to "if God created the world, then it would look exactly like it does now, and as evidence for this, we have folklore and the observation that the world looks exactly as we see it".

You creationism in the context of science is semantic bafflegab, but otherwise meaningless in a scientific context. It's mostly an attempt to co-opt the language of science without understanding what it actually means.

Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (3, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#46195457)

Science is very political these days in every area.

Nothing new - it was very political in Galileo's day too.

Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (4, Insightful)

Idarubicin (579475) | about 10 months ago | (#46195477)

There is a lot of science that is easily reproducible that cannot be taught in a school science classroom because it came from a "creationist". Like you, I demand that ALL science should be uncensored.

Isaac Newton was a staunch creationist [wikipedia.org] who put a great deal of time and effort into literal interpretation of the Bible. (Fun fact: Newton was born on Christmas day!) It's too bad that America's children are sheltered from learning his Laws because of their unfortunate association with a Christian wingnut.

Oh, what's that? Darn. Well, which creationists are doing actual science that is being concealed from children? I mean, surely an advocate of creationist teachings wouldn't make grand claims based in personal beliefs and tenuous or nonexistent evidence....

There is no controversy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195233)

So long as all sides in a controversy have to use open science, this will not happen. You have nothing to fear because all real science is open.

Remember the years that the FDA was just trying make cigarette makers put warning labels on cigarette packs? The cigarette industry had plenty of studies that showed cigarettes were "safe". It's easy to find a scientist to create a study to show that what you want then to show.

And while the debates are going on about what is "real" science, industry is plowing ahead making money and harming people.

The same WILL happen with all these industries who are trying get out from under the EPA.

Industry CANNOT be trusted to do real science when it comes to their regulation and their bottom line.

It is naive think that data, truth and science will prevail.

Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (4, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 10 months ago | (#46195265)

It could be abused, to force the EPA to include "meta-analyses" of scientific results and use them to discredit reliable results compared to large sets of industry published, fraudulent results. Let's not forget the tobacco industry scientific fraud, for decades, about the poisonous effects of cigarette smoke on humans.

It's also theoretically possible that this kind of law could be used to expose the "industry analyses" to review. That's what I'd hope for, right now: too many analyses are published under extensive non-disclosure agreements that prevent the EPA from being able to publish them. I've certainly seen that kind of restraint of publication about groundwater and soil toxicity analyses for new construction. The project leaders wanted even the existence of the analysis kept secret unless it was favorable to construction.

Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 10 months ago | (#46195345)

Is it ironic that comment comes from an anonymous coward?
This doesn't say anywhere that it has to be reproducible by industry, just by anyone.

Methinks you're trying too hard to argue against something that's patently obvious, for your own political motivations.

Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195413)

As it is today this is one giant loophole for leftist wackos to introduce regulations base on their religious beliefs.Non reproducible secret science is pretty much a religion.

Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (2)

emagery (914122) | about 10 months ago | (#46195501)

see: http://youtu.be/ceFyF9px20Y?t=... [youtu.be] ... in this case we're talking the food industry, and in an example a few minutes prior to where this is tagged to begin, Lustig describes how it was the food industry got away with not admitting to people what they were putting in our food (i.e., because it was proprietary information that their competitors could duplicate.) But the point is, some science MUST rely on causal inference. You can't go around infecting thousands of people with HIV to run a study. You can't make someone smoke for 70 straight years to see what happens. You can't spike their food with high fructose corn syrup and trans fat, en masse, and be doing ethical science... and so you must instead examine the statistics that came FROM the fact that industries have already subjected us to these things and make a strong inference. And yet, because of the methods we're limited to, the food industry keeps getting to set the goal line back. 'We need better data,' 'more research to be sure...' and as long as they're 'never sure' we can never say, with any authority, 'okay, this explicative deleted is bad stuff.' I actually kinda LIKE the idea of complete transparency... but if they're going to force it on the EPA, FDA, CDC, etc, they must ACCEPT it upon themselves as well. No product can be sold to the public before it is ABSOLUTELY PROVEN TO BE SAFE. Let's see how they like that one?

Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195505)

You're missing the damn point. Fuck beta is the point. Beta raped my mother and sister then killed them. Stop staying on topic and fuck beta.

wait what? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 10 months ago | (#46194995)

This is a bill coming from the GOP??? and its pro transparent science?? Color me skeptical, but this looks like a good idea to me

Re:wait what? (5, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | about 10 months ago | (#46195039)

It's a great idea, as long as a willful failure to reproduce the results doesn't qualify as "not reproducible." And of course, it also means that a lot of work that is not being done now will have to be done—there's been a push in the sciences to do a better job of publishing code used to arrive at results, but this is by no means a complete success at this juncture. So the effect of this at present would probably be to prevent the EPA making any rules at all. And of course, I'm sure the Republicans have no intention of increasing science funding to account for the additional work that will be required, and the studies that will have to be re-done, and the code that will have to be rewritten.

So yes, this could be a good thing; nevertheless, I smell a rat.

Also, this throws the precautionary principle out the window: until something is proven harmful, it can't be regulated. History shows that things often aren't obviously harmful until widely deployed, even though it was obvious to people who thought about it early on that there was likely to be a problem. That sort of hypothesis would argue for study first, then use product. But this rule would require use product, then study.

The bottom line is that no rule can make government work better. For government to work better, the people implementing the rules have to be smart and have good intentions, and there has to be criticism. If you just pass a rule, but don't hire the right people, it's garbage in, garbage out. And we are the hiring manager, much though we might wish to pretend that it's "the corporations" or "the libruls" or whatever. The buck has to stop here.

Re:wait what? (4, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | about 10 months ago | (#46195169)

Also, this throws the precautionary principle out the window: until something is proven harmful, it can't be regulated.

"Proven harmful" is even mild in comparison with "reproducible harmful". There are lots of things one can never hope to reproduce empirically: can you really reproduce an earthquake (if you can't control it, how can you hope to reproduce it)? Or the effect of variating CO2 percentage on Earth's climate? (yes, you can observe it, but not reproduce it, there's only one Earth to stand as experimental subject)

Re:wait what? (5, Informative)

penix1 (722987) | about 10 months ago | (#46195201)

Maybe all these dick-cheeses that are trying to hamstring the EPA should spend a couple weeks in Charleston, WV during the height of the chemical spill. Maybe we should ship them all the bottled water from the Elk River for their enjoyment.

Sorry for the snark but having lived through this ongoing drama and having to bird bath for a week using bottled water because these asshats prefer money over health is getting to me.

Re:wait what? (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#46195223)

I smell a rat.

Yep. Proving things is harmful in a complex system can be almost impossible. eg. They couldn't prove that smoking causes cancer, but was there any real doubt?

This is just designed so they can stonewall anything the EPA proposes.

Re:wait what beta? (-1)

sliceoflife (2814511) | about 10 months ago | (#46195041)

Hey, your post got modded up quick! Please reconsider posting at all, slashdot is about to die unless direct action by its users is taken, did you miss something?

Re:wait what beta? (1, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | about 10 months ago | (#46195207)

Hey, your post got modded up quick! Please reconsider posting at all, slashdot is about to die unless direct action by its users is taken, did you miss something?

And if everyone is rubishing beta, what do you think happens? Or, do you think geeks are like unionized blue-collars to go on a strike and return next week/month as if nothing happened?
Yes, I can express my olives and fetta, but if I'm limited to only/exclusively that for more than 2-3 days, suddenly it doesn't make sense to even come on /.

Re:wait what beta? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195425)

Hey, your post got modded up quick! Please reconsider posting at all, slashdot is about to die unless direct action by its users is taken, did you miss something?

And if everyone is rubishing beta, what do you think happens? Or, do you think geeks are like unionized blue-collars to go on a strike and return next week/month as if nothing happened?

Yes, I can express my olives and fetta, but if I'm limited to only/exclusively that for more than 2-3 days, suddenly it doesn't make sense to even come on /.

Ok, what I hope might happen from everyone rubbishing beta, is that slashdot corps will start to realise they need to work with us, instead of the attempted dunbing down of slashdot with the hope of widening the "audience", which is what the beta is.

many of the "geeks" here are indeed trying to club together in a unionised way, so yes, they can be like that. The thinking, like any direct action or strike, is to try to make the management realise that the people they need to make their organisation actually work need to be treated respectfully, and with care. Especially if they are critical to the operation, as we slashdot users are. Unlike a usual strike though, the balance is different, and in our favour, we are not workers, our livelyhoods and families do not require us to be on slashdot to help them survive. The management need us considerably more than we actually need them. All we need is resolve, and an ability to avoid posting for "more than 2-3 days". Your seeming addiction to slashdot is what they are relying on to make the transition from geek site to meek site smooth. You will eventually move away anyway, as article complexity and depth lowers, and comments debase. But right now you can fight for something you so obviously enjoy.

In a work environment strike, I can understand those who still turn up for work. They have mouths to feed, or have made the choice they don't mind being shafted in the near future, compared to being wageless or jobless iminently. Here, I understand it less. I even imagine many of the posters are in fact Slashdot employees trying desperately to force comment. Perhaps you are not, but If you really want Slashdot, you posting here and carrying on as normal is less forgivable. You have nothing to lose by trying to keep it. Your need to post in the next 2-3 days is less important than your need to post in the next year surely?

Re:wait what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195059)

It's not pro-science, it's anti-EPA. Like passing a law that says, "all computers you use must have open source everything, including the software for the robot in the Intel fabrication plant". In theory, it sounds great, but in reality, it's so crippling that RMS wouldn't even go that far. So, unless you use wget to browse Slashdot....

Re:wait what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195071)

It might be a trick: Oh you used (proprietary software X) to generate that data? Where is the source? Oh you ran it on a CPU? Lets have the vhdl files (I actually don't know what would count as "source" for a cpu, but you get the idea.

Re:wait what? (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#46195205)

This is a bill coming from the GOP??? and its pro transparent science?? Color me skeptical, but this looks like a good idea to me

It's aimed specifically at the EPA and it's designed so they can basically block anything they don't like.

Remember how nobody could *prove* that smoking causes cancer? That's the way this is going to go...

Re:wait what? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#46195339)

At a glance I'd guess it's an impending all-time classic backfire. They think it's going to let them shit on climate science but instead it will shit on everything they propose

Re:wait what? (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 10 months ago | (#46195397)

This is a bill coming from the GOP??? and its pro transparent science?? Color me skeptical, but this looks like a good idea to me

Ordinary laws get boring names. The crazier the legislation, the more likely it'll be named something interesting-sounding that implies the opposite of what it does. Like "USA Patriot act".

Re:wait what? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 10 months ago | (#46195489)

This is a bill coming from the GOP??? and its pro transparent science?? Color me skeptical, but this looks like a good idea to me

It is, someone was thinking, and used the GOPs conspiracy theories to gain some traction on a legitimate piece of legislation. You can tell who the ideologs are here by all the leftists trying to shoot it down out of the gate just because it came from the republicans. This is the problem with a 2 party system.

Fuck Beta (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46194997)

Can you hear me now? Good.

Suddenly the opinion of the people matters? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 10 months ago | (#46195005)

90% of the Americans think it's a good idea so we should do it? Ask them about their opinion about bailouts, I guess you get a similar result for NO FUCKIN' WAY.

But aside of that, wouldn't that make it kinda hard to push intelligent design and other bull that's kinda hard to prove because "a wizard did it" isn't quite scientific?

Let's require this for ALL laws (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195009)

Actually, I think that this should be required for ALL laws. Every law should be justified, and should not rely on secret justifications or justifications that cannot be confirmed.

The GOP War on Science marches on. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195015)

Environmental policy should be based on science and common sense. I would suggest we propose a similar criteria for a bill that regulates what may be taught to children: creationism or evolution. We can teach either one as long as all "scientific and technical information" is disclosed beforehand.

Re:The GOP War on Science marches on. (2, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 10 months ago | (#46195067)

why would you start this thread with "the GOP war on science marches on" when it is the GOP who is trying to bring transparency to science? In fact I believe this bill would in fact be used to stop ID from going further. I wonder if they didnt think that through

Re:The GOP War on Science marches on. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195197)

It would put a stop to "Evolutionism". Try reproducing the evolution of humans from apes. Or any of the weird other things constituting our current world. You don't have the starting point, you don't have the necessary time, and the results will be entirely different each time anyway.

In contrast, the conclusions of "Intelligent Design" are perfectly reproducible: you come to the same conclusions each time.

Re:The GOP War on Science marches on. (0)

PRMan (959735) | about 10 months ago | (#46195239)

This assumes that Intelligent Design is the model with less observational evidence and more fairy tales. In reality, it's the other side where you often find stuff like this video. http://www.answersingenesis.or... [answersingenesis.org]

Re:The GOP War on Science marches on. (3, Informative)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 10 months ago | (#46195147)

The entire point of science is reproducibility.

Ken Ham (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195153)

Did you see the debate between Ken Ham and Nye?

At the end, Ham said that they were using the same evidence but that the interpretations are just different. That's all. Ham is also one of the people who say that Evolution is in conflict with Faith. So, if you want to know one of the sources of all this needless conflict from the Religious Fundamentalist who are trying to teach Creationism in science class, look to him.

Science uses ALL data to come to their conclusions. Others, cherry pick and make things up in order for their "theories" to work. In Hams case, one thing he made up to discount the criticisms of the animals eating each other on Noah's Ark, he just proclaimed that obviously they were all vegetarians back then - even the lions.

Evidence for that? Nope. But it makes his "theory" valid because the Bible is The World Of God and everything is on the table to make the stories correct. And the fundies eat it up and just think "See! Science doesn't have all the answers!"

That's the mentality we're dealing with here. Folks discount the science that is pointing to the fact that these emissions are doing a lot of damage - and forgetting that emissions also cause smog and other air quality problems. This bill - if enacted into law - would open up the doors for industry to indiscriminately pollute.

I highly suspect that this bill is NOTHING but industry trying to get the EPA off their backs so that they can go back to polluting like it was 1899 again.

Re:The GOP War on Science marches on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195209)

Gotcha. So we should ban dihydrogen monoxide because people die due to no fault of their own by drinking too much of it, but by the fact that we can't regulate how much of it they should drink.

If it's one thing that bothers me are people who don't think.

Well (5, Insightful)

The Cat (19816) | about 10 months ago | (#46195045)

Here's hoping people will look past their pet political stereotypes and commend those who defend fact-based science in pursuit of better legislation and governance.

Re:Well (5, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#46195183)

Here's hoping people will look past their pet political stereotypes and commend those who defend fact-based science in pursuit of better legislation and governance.

In other words, here's hoping the dupes fall for it.

What scientific information doesn't the EPA disclose? Yeah, I can't think of any either. Nor have I ever heard of opponents of an EPA policy criticize it on the grounds that the EPA hasn't disclosed relevant scientific information.

This is a "think of the children" type of bill. Tout something that everybody agrees is desirable, and slip your agenda into the fine print. What does "reproducible" mean? If there are 100 attempts to reproduce the results, and only 99 of them agree, is it reproducible? Do attempts at reproducing the results include work done by the very companies opposed to the regulations, who can't disclose all the details of their work because they're "proprietary"? Does it include work done by the equivalent of creation "scientists"? Can you tie a proposed regulation up in the courts for years because only 99 out of 100 attempts succeeded? Is there fine print saying that a regulation can't be implemented as long as there is "any reasonable legal challenge" or some other lawyerspeak BS that means throw a monkey wrench into the works?

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195189)

Sorry EPA, but the studies sponsored by the [insert industry] industry couldn't reproduce the findings.

You cannot regulate them.

This will be one GIANT loophole for industry.

Re:Well (0)

marcgvky (949079) | about 10 months ago | (#46195375)

Silly liberal. Useful idiots.

Re:Well (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 10 months ago | (#46195241)

So, you support a view the creation/evolution debate under the same standards? Or do you want to continue the current censorship?

Re:Well (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 10 months ago | (#46195407)

Here's hoping people will look past their pet political stereotypes and commend those who defend fact-based science in pursuit of better legislation and governance.

Now that's funny.

Color me skeptical (1)

Saei (3133199) | about 10 months ago | (#46195049)

The purpose of laws is almost always separate from the selling points used to sell it. So, even if the bill seems to have good method (i.e. making information public), the intention is purely partisan, and the use will be similarly malicious.

Just quote the bible... (-1, Troll)

Assmasher (456699) | about 10 months ago | (#46195053)

..that should shut up the GOP. The particular passage doesn't matter, bend it to mean whatever you will.

Transparency I agree with (1, Insightful)

Ronin Developer (67677) | about 10 months ago | (#46195055)

I have to agree that when public policy is to made, the information should be disclosed and an open period of debate and review should follow. If this review is actually performed by other qualified scientists in the field vs politicians who understand the laws of nature do not change on a whim and not by 'historical' scientists and explain the findings to the politicians in terms they can understand, it's a good thing. However, to call it a far- left agenda shows the partisan nature of the bill. Sounds like Bill NYE upset the far-rights mindset....maybe for the better this time.

Reproducible scientific proof, like Creationism..? (0)

Assmasher (456699) | about 10 months ago | (#46195065)

The hypocrisy is astounding...

Re:Reproducible scientific proof, like Creationism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195203)

Where is they "hypocrisy"? Is creationism being used to make EPA rules anywhere? Is creationism justification for any other kind of government policy?

Republicans and creationists generally don't even want public school funding, so they don't even want creationism to be taught with public funds.

Re:Reproducible scientific proof, like Creationism (0)

PRMan (959735) | about 10 months ago | (#46195247)

Is this the hypocrisy in your comment? Have you even gone here and viewed the scientific evidence? Even once? http://www.answersingenesis.or... [answersingenesis.org]

Re:Reproducible scientific proof, like Creationism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195279)

Creationism is reproducible since it does not have random components to it. Evolution isn't.

Put a few apes in a cage and wait for them to evolve into humans, bonus points if they don't vote Republican. How long will you take to reproduce yourself?

Re:Reproducible scientific proof, like Creationism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195293)

I would take this bill one step farther. Unless a rule can be shown to either have no effect on job creation or to create jobs, it should be nullified.

Let's break gov't (2)

SwampApe (2814551) | about 10 months ago | (#46195075)

The real purpose is to bog down the agency with these requirements so that nothing ever gets done.

Re:Let's break gov't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195435)

The real purpose is to bog down the agency with these requirements so that nothing ever gets done.

That might have unintended consequences if we started calling them like they were. The Repubs would be on the 20th "Let's Break the Government Act" of 2014. It would be difficult to remember which law breaks what.

Who do you think the GOP will blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195077)

When the east coast of America is under water.

This will be faux news, we warned you of global warming.

Not with a bang, but with a Beta. (0, Offtopic)

emmagsachs (1024119) | about 10 months ago | (#46195085)

Beta is more than cosmetics or aesthetics. The new design ruins the one thing that makes /. what it is -- the commenting system. I only come here for the comments [slashdot.org] , not the 2-day old articles nor the erroneous summaries.

I do not see the changes of Beta as improvements. What is wrong with Slashdot that demands breaking its foundations? This is not change for the sake of change, but, as others have commented, an attempt to monetize /. at any any cost [slashdot.org] , and its users be damned.

Our complaints have fallen on deaf ears, and will continue to do so. Dice intends to dispose of Classic in favor of Beta [slashdot.org] , whether we like it or not. Do you know how to tell whether an executive really cares about feedback? If her CV [linkedin.com] doesn't proclaim the following "successes":

Proven track record innovating and improving iconic websites (CNET.com, Dice.com, Slashdot.org, Sourceforge.net) while protecting their voice and brand integrity

Re:Not with a bang, but with a Beta. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195135)

It's your own fault for being trackable. I apparently never got to see Beta yet because Slashdot does not track me. When an obnoxious popup wanting to record a cookie for whether I want to have cookies (how stupid do you think I am?) obscured all Slashdot pages, I used Adblock on it.

Re:Not with a bang, but with a Beta. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195221)

very well said and my first FUCK BETA.

DICE Bill To Outlaw Classic 'Slashdot' will FAIL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195095)

Please post this to new articles if it hasn't been posted yet. (Copy-paste the html from here [pastebin.com] so links don't get mangled!)

On February 5, 2014, Slashdot announced through a javascript popup that they are starting to "move in to" the new Slashdot Beta design. Slashdot Beta is a trend-following attempt to give Slashdot a fresh look, an approach that has led to less space for text and an abandonment of the traditional Slashdot look. Much worse than that, Slashdot Beta fundamentally breaks the classic Slashdot discussion and moderation system.

If you haven't seen Slashdot Beta already, open this [slashdot.org] in a new tab. After seeing that, click here [slashdot.org] to return to classic Slashdot.

We should boycott stories and only discuss the abomination that is Slashdot Beta until Dice abandons the project.
We should boycott slashdot entirely during the week of Feb 10 to Feb 17 as part of the wider slashcott [slashdot.org]

Moderators - only spend mod points on comments that discuss Beta
Commentors - only discuss Beta
  http://slashdot.org/recent [slashdot.org] - Vote up the Fuck Beta stories

Keep this up for a few days and we may finally get the PHBs attention.

-----=====##### LINKS #####=====-----

Discussion of Beta: http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&id=56395415 [slashdot.org]

Discussion of where to go if Beta goes live: http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&type=submission&id=3321441 [slashdot.org]

Alternative Slashdot: http://altslashdot.org [altslashdot.org] (thanks Okian Warrior (537106) [slashdot.org] )

This kills environmental protection dead (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195097)

Climate change is not reproducible by its very nature (we'd be happy if we could rewind it). Likewise any permanent change is not reproducible since it it terminal.

So this bill is putting a stop to any regulation that would prevent irreversible changes.

Re:This kills environmental protection dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195267)

Reading the comments, seeing how few people see that scares the shit out of me. If slashdot public is that blind, just imagine the general public.

Re:This kills environmental protection dead (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195331)

To be fair, I'm still effectively blind from the after-image of Beta.

MY EYES!

Re:This kills environmental protection dead (1)

satch89450 (186046) | about 10 months ago | (#46195445)

Does it? Really? I don't think so. It isn't "government regulaton" that is driving my desire to replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs -- it's the long-term cost savings and the elimination of bulb-changing hassles. I shun CFLs because they represent a hazard to the environment I live in, so out they go. My shift is driven by market forces, not by rules enforced with the working end of a gun.

What the new proposed law does, as I see it, is slow down the rate of rule-making to something approaching sanity. The new rules and regulations are coming so fast and furiously that keeping up with them is a full-time job in and of itself.

SCIENCE is all about showing your work, and having others verify that the work is accurate. When the raw data is labelled "proprietary" or the analysis methods "trade secrets", yet the summary of that data/analysis is presented as justification to force changes on people, that's not a good use of science. Indeed, it's bad government.

To add to the problem of climate "science", there is quite a bit of elitism applied to the judgements of articles -- if you aren't a member of the "club" you are not allowed to play. This has led to some very interesting criticism of contrary work on non-scientific grounds. That's what feeds my skepticism of the "crisis". When a non-environmentalist criticism of the models used to "measure climate change" (remember when the mantra was "measure global warming"?) leads to a knee-jerk "he doesn't know what he's talking about," I cringe.

I personally witnessed what open, transparent science can do. The clean-up of Lake Michigan was based on transparent science, and carefully-considered enforcement against those who polluted the waters. No esoteric regulations, just prove-beyond-a-reasonable-doubt science. Effective.

If you think things should change, find a way -- other than regulation or other use of violence -- to move people to less harmful activities. Make it part of their self-interest to do so. You don't need government to make a difference.

Presentation (2)

haydensdaddy (1719524) | about 10 months ago | (#46195113)

As usual, it's not about the message. The message is a good idea. It's the constantly confrontational attitude that makes everyone roll their eyes at the GOP and not take them seriously.

This sounds like a ruse. (5, Informative)

Above (100351) | about 10 months ago | (#46195121)

"For far too long, the EPA has approved regulations that have placed a crippling financial burden on economic growth in this country with no public evidence to justify their actions."

That quote is not the same attitude that would come from someone who is looking for solid, reproducible science. I believe most of the people who are strong supporters of solid, transparent, reproducible science would actually say the EPA has been near toothless, not overbearing. For example West Virginia chemical spill that contaminated the Kanawha/Ohio/Mississippi and the drinking water for millions and yet the company was allowed to store the chemical right next to the river with nearly zero monitoring or oversight. Another would be fracking, for which there is ample evidence of ground water contamination, and it causing earthquakes, and yet "full speed ahead!".

No, this is a bureaucratic trick, often used in Washington, so let's translate:

  • Transparent - prohibit the EPA's administrator from proposing or finalizing any rules unless he or she also discloses "all scientific and technical information" relied on by the agency. The only problem? Much of that data is not owned by the government. It's studies and reports made by private businesses and provided to the government. The government does not, in all cases, have the rights to republish. The standard being set is all, so if the EPA finds 10 studies on something, all of which agree it's very, very bad, but can only publish 9 out of 10, it's no go! You can imagine GOP friendly companies (like those run by the Koch brothers) would do studies and then prevent them from being published just to gum up the works.
  • Reproducible - In it's most benign form this is a delaying tactic. Perhaps everyone agrees on the science, but until it can be "reproduced" regulations can be delayed. There will be calls for private industry to reproduce findings when there is no (business) reason for them to do so, and then their lack of action will be used to gum up the works. However, in a more malignant form GOP friendly companies will do bad science on purpose, and attempt to question the validity of EPA findings. It's easy to imagine again 10 studies that all agree, and then right as the regulation comes to pass some bad science pseudo-report being released that calls into question the "reproducibility" of the science.

The tactic is alive right in the promotion of the bill. The "Institute for Energy Research" [wikipedia.org] turns out to be a lobbying group run by an ex-Enron director, funded by ExxonMobile and the Koch brothers. As a result I think you can see the sort of transparent, reproducible "science" that will be in play here, starting with the "2013 poll from the Institute of Energy Research" used to back up this bill.

On topic replies? (-1, Offtopic)

sliceoflife (2814511) | about 10 months ago | (#46195123)

I know this is an interesting topic, but could people please explain why they are still posting on topic? I know the slashcott doesn't officially start til monday, but for some of you it seems you are quite unaware what the future of Slashdot actually holds, and are carrying on regardless. This will all be gone soon, or have I misunderstood Dice's plans and ignorance of what the slashdot audience really wants? Or do you honestly believe it'll all be ok?This is a serious question. I'm suspicious you are all shills, and confused why on posting, you all get straight to "score:2".

Re:On topic replies? (0)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 10 months ago | (#46195227)

If your favorite restaurant were about to go away, wouldn't you want to have a couple of last meals there? Preserving the discussion system is what the protest against beta is all about; we might as well enjoy it while we can.

I'll happily join in the "Slashcott." (I suspect I'll get more work done next week as a result.) Until then, I'll post about the story at hand, about the awfulness of beta, or about whatever else seems appropriate.

I'm suspicious you are all shills, and confused why on posting, you all get straight to "score:2".

http://www.google.com/search?q=slashdot%20karma%20bonus [google.com]

Re:On topic replies? (3)

PRMan (959735) | about 10 months ago | (#46195255)

I, for one, give people the benefit of the doubt when they say, "OK, WE HEARD YOU!" There's plenty of time for another boycott the next time they try to turn off Classic if beta still doesn't have the features we want.

Re:On topic replies? (2)

demontechie (180612) | about 10 months ago | (#46195353)

When they turn off Classic, that's when it will no longer be an organized boycott. Most will simply leave.

Re:On topic replies? (1)

stoploss (2842505) | about 10 months ago | (#46195481)

I, for one, give people the benefit of the doubt when they say, "OK, WE HEARD YOU!"

Words are not actions, and corporations are certainly not people. Perhaps that was the disconnect?

Besides, whatever the large banner print gaveth, the corporate doublespeak took away. You did read the message to "the audience" that the banner linked to, right?

Have you ever worked for a company large enough to have an HR department? If so, then you will know how to translate what they said into what they actually mean. They don't want a community like we have, they want an audience they can monetize. The Beta is designed to make that shift happen. They have been ignoring the feedback for months. If they were going to heed it they would have done so by now.

Here's an allegory: did you ever see the website JumpTheShark.com? It was a Wiki-type online community that rated when various television shows had reached their inflection point (a reference to the infamous Happy Days episode where Fonzi jumped over a shark lagoon on waterskis). Anyhow, it was acquired by TV Guide after a few years. It was "monetized" by ripping it apart, throwing away everything related to the community, and turning it into an Entertainment Tonight blog type clone complete with "Shark Bites" news updates. That is the type of future that Dice envisions for Slashdot.

We may not be able to divert the inexorable fate of this community being ground into dust by corporate managers at Dice (or whoever they pawn this site off to in the future), but a boycott will at least be retaliation in the only form they can understand: reduced revenue. This boycott will let them observe how committed this community is, or whether we can be safely flushed away like they were planning to do anyway.

Re:On topic replies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195301)

I'm suspicious you are all shills, and confused why on posting, you all get straight to "score:2".

You must be a shill, your post went straight to score 2!!

Yet another redundant, useless law (5, Informative)

bruce_the_moose (621423) | about 10 months ago | (#46195131)

This idiot congress critter has absolutely no idea how EPA regulations get written.

"Public policy should come from public data, not based on the whims of far-left environmental groups," says Schweikert.

He assumes the regulations get written the same way financial industry and other regulations get written, by think tanksand lobbyists (ALEC anyone?). My sister, an environmental engineer spends a great amount of time in the field collecting samples and then coming back to the lab and documenting the science that goes into developing regulations for the EPA.

"For far too long, the EPA has approved regulations that have placed a crippling financial burden on economic growth in this country with no public evidence to justify their actions."

Which is pure, verifiable bullshit. His agenda couldn't be more plain. Like laws introduced to prohibit public funding of abortions, which is already prohibited, it's more about grandstanding and politics than anything having to do with transparency, economics, or in absolutely last place, the environment.

Re:Yet another redundant, useless law (0)

PRMan (959735) | about 10 months ago | (#46195297)

I know you think so, but recently we had mold in our house. The "EPA approved" method of mold remediation was complete overkill for what was actually necessary to remove the mold. No we don't need to tear down half our house to get rid of 2 square feet of mold. We got another guy who just cut out the moldy parts and washed everything with a mold-killer, dried it and then painted it with Kilz. The mold hasn't returned and we saved over $10,000.

What part of the science says that the only way to kill mold is to tear down half my house? When in fact, it has been completely removed and has not returned for over 3 years.

Re:Yet another redundant, useless law (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 10 months ago | (#46195497)

I know you think so, but recently we had mold in our house. The "EPA approved" method of mold remediation was complete overkill for what was actually necessary to remove the mold. No we don't need to tear down half our house to get rid of 2 square feet of mold. We got another guy who just cut out the moldy parts and washed everything with a mold-killer, dried it and then painted it with Kilz. The mold hasn't returned and we saved over $10,000.

What part of the science says that the only way to kill mold is to tear down half my house? When in fact, it has been completely removed and has not returned for over 3 years.

Just because a guy tried so sucker you with his claimed interpretations of government regulations -- that coincidentally cost more and made more profit -- doesn't necessarily prove that the government regulations are overkill. The extra money might be a motive for him. To beat this dead horse a little more, I'm suggesting that the guy was using the old "Government regulations require this massively expensive procedure" trick. It's not new. The trick that is. To scam people.

Re:Yet another redundant, useless law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195335)

It doesn't matter if it's "pure, verifiable bullshit." The biggest problem that I have with the EPA and much of the administrative beauracracy in Washington is that they have no real oversight, they do no represent anyone (i.e. they aren't elected). When you have organizations such as the EPA churning out thousands of regulations (i.e. laws) every year, how can you expect anyone to come in full accordance with them. Organizations like this DO cripple business because they put a huge burden of their regulations on them. I can agree that business can cause some problems, but I still believe that laws should be passed through representatives and not some faceless bureaucrat who thinks he/she knows best for everyone.

GOP Bill and dot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195141)

Beta team here really need to get 330AM abduction team, that will definitely fix them up. I forgot, beta suck!

interesting (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 10 months ago | (#46195159)

Having lived in Arizona, I know how politically dysfunctional it really is. I support the spirit of the bill meaning that science should be transparent but of course, this barely educated moron has to throw in a gaff at the left. It makes what would be a solid argument and makes it sound childish.

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts (1)

Doghouse13 (2909489) | about 10 months ago | (#46195161)

My first thought was that this sounds eminently sensible. My second was "Just who decides what 'reproducible' means?" My third is that it sounds like a recipe for delaying and tying up in the courts anything the far right don't like, on the grounds that there's "too much conflicting evidence and opinion" for it to pass the test. Frankly - it's a trap. Don't go there. And, just to lay my cards squarely on the table, I have no direct skin in this - I'm not a US citizen.

the EPA has crippled economic growth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195163)

where is the reproducible scientific proof of that?

Same old Republican BS (2, Interesting)

oscrivellodds (1124383) | about 10 months ago | (#46195171)

"For far too long, the EPA has approved regulations that have placed a crippling financial burden on economic growth in this country with no public evidence to justify their actions."

Gee, it sounds like they are doing a lot of this sort of thing. Can you name some specific instances where this has occurred?

"Provisions in the bill are consistent with the White House's scientific integrity policy, the President's Executive Order 13563, data access provisions of major scientific journals, the Bipartisan Policy Center and the recommendations of the Obama administration's top science advisors."

Are ALL or just a few of the provisions consistent with the policy? Which provisions aren't consistent with the policy?

  "prohibit the EPA from proposing new regulations based on science that is not transparent or not reproducible"

So you mean that since they don't have a second planet earth to experiment on, they can't issue any rules that would relate to things like, oh, I don't know, anthropomorphic climate change?

Gee thanks, Mr. Republican, for looking out for my interests.

fb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195179)

You guessed it... Fuck beta

UGH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195215)

Fuck this new hipster style Slashdot. I'm going elsewhere.

What happened? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195235)

Please post this to new articles if it hasn't been posted yet. (Copy-paste the html from here [pastebin.com] so links don't get mangled!)

On February 5, 2014, Slashdot announced through a javascript popup that they are starting to "move in to" the new Slashdot Beta design. Slashdot Beta is a trend-following attempt to give Slashdot a fresh look, an approach that has led to less space for text and an abandonment of the traditional Slashdot look. Much worse than that, Slashdot Beta fundamentally breaks the classic Slashdot discussion and moderation system.

If you haven't seen Slashdot Beta already, open this [slashdot.org] in a new tab. After seeing that, click here [slashdot.org] to return to classic Slashdot.

We should boycott stories and only discuss the abomination that is Slashdot Beta until Dice abandons the project.
We should boycott slashdot entirely during the week of Feb 10 to Feb 17 as part of the wider slashcott [slashdot.org]

Moderators - only spend mod points on comments that discuss Beta
Commentors - only discuss Beta
    http://slashdot.org/recent [slashdot.org] - Vote up the Fuck Beta stories

Keep this up for a few days and we may finally get the PHBs attention.

-----=====##### LINKS #####=====-----

Discussion of Beta: http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&id=56395415 [slashdot.org]

Discussion of where to go if Beta goes live: http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&type=submission&id=3321441 [slashdot.org]

Alternative Slashdot: http://altslashdot.org [altslashdot.org] (thanks Okian Warrior (537106) [slashdot.org])

Pathetic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195261)

The irrational hatred of conservatives here is hilarious. If it was a liberal proposing the same bill you'd be all for it, but because it's a conservative-proposed bill you're all up in arms. Throwing out references to creationism and the Bill Nye debate? That has absolutely nothing to do with it. You're just trying to find any possible way you can trash conservatives. You're pathetic.

This is coming from a political party. (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | about 10 months ago | (#46195347)

You want us to be blind to political motivations? The GOP cares not a wit about environmental protection. Time and time again the GOP has shown this to be the case. It's entirely appropriate to ask cuo bono? This is so transparently a loophole. Anytime there is a proposed regulation and the underlying science cannot be reproduced by the Heartland Foundation then that will tie the EPA's hands. Of course the Heartland Foundation would give a good faith effort to reproduce the results, right?

Btw, this is my first experience with the beta. If this stays, I go.

Re:This is coming from a political party. (1)

marcgvky (949079) | about 10 months ago | (#46195433)

taxman, most republicans care a great deal about our environment. That kind of blanket statement is tantamount to racism or sexism, it is absolute. You should rethink.

Re:Pathetic (0)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 10 months ago | (#46195373)

This sums up what I was about to post. When a liberal, or Democrat (which is much the same thing) proposes a law, no need to look at what the law actually says, just read what they claim it will do and praise it as a great idea. If anybody points out that what it actually says does not do what they claim it will, call it a great first step. When a conservative, or Republican (which is not necessarily the same thing), proposes a law, no need to look at what the law actually says, or even what they claim it will do, just condemn it as anti-science.
This is actually a very short bill which is amazingly easy to read. It looks to me like it would be hard to twist into something that is a bad thing. If you oppose the law, read it and explain to me how what it plainly says is a bad thing. It reads to me like it does exactly what its sponsors claim it is designed to do, require the EPA to publicly disclose the scientific basis for any regulations they propose and disclose all information necessary to independently evaluate their conclusions. No more basing a regulation on conclusions derived from a source which is, "Sorry, that is proprietary information, but trust us it proves that this regulation is necessary." The law as written does just as much to reveal the science behind regulations to environmentalists as it does to corporations.

Good idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195271)

lets impose the same restrictions on banks & churches.

I'll be dead by the time it's a problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195273)

so fuck the rest of you and let me get rich of raping the planet now!

Just the EPA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195309)

Why single out the EPA? Perhaps Congress should stick to science too? But no this is just a way to all big industry (ie those with lots of lawyers) to damage the environment that we all share in the name of bigger profits. At least until we the consumer die from the damage that has been done to the environment.

Good move... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195325)

... next move is that EPA will decide whether kids will be taught evolution, as long evolution is reproducible...

Re:Good move... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195341)

well, on a second thought, evolution is all about reproduction anyway...

GOP doesn't understand science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46195387)

So I guess it was written by an oil company. Maybe there should be a house transparency bill attached to this so we know where these bills originate.

EPA Full of Bad Code (4, Insightful)

retroworks (652802) | about 10 months ago | (#46195449)

I agree that simply restricting EPA's regulation is an "end of pipe" solution to the problems at EPA (restricting the power to restrict). But while I think the environment is the most important legacy our generation will leave (or not), there are many problems at EPA. A pile of lead silicate in the sunshine at a mining site is governed by 1872 laws and the cleanup paid by Superfund. Try collecting a stack of leaded silicate at a recycling operation. Outdated EPA codes discourage innovation or investment. In 1960 the USA had 7 secondary (recycling) copper smelters, by 2001 there were 0, because EPA enforcement of "waste" (scrap raw material, defined as "waste") is stronger than enforcement of "extraction" (mined raw material, defined as a "commodity") codes. The codes on EPA books were influenced by property value, making resources extracted from populace more difficult. 14/15 of the largest Superfund sites are at hard rock mining sites EPA can't figure out how to regulate... so they double down regulating recyclers, in a perverse "pecking order" show of strength. Visit this EPA Calculator to see EPA's attempt to put their Codes into legal interpretation, and run virgin leaded ore through it (follow "specific exclusions" path for mined ore, defined under "commodity" exclusion) http://www.epa.gov/osw/hazard/... [epa.gov]

I really liked my colleagues (state env regulatory agency) and hate to sound like a jerk. But that social group-think, and "reverence of the environment", doesn't belong in scientific method, and is part of the problem. There is kind of pseudo-religious hostility towards rewriting environmental regulations, which become ossified and subject to work-arounds. Too many environmental regulators seem spoiled by the knee-jerk support of environmentalists, who fetishize the environmental codes, opposing rewrites and sunsetting of old EPA rules (again, out of justifiable but cynical suspicion the RCRA and CERCLA laws won't be replaced by new ones). Resistance to identified problems with EPA testing methods (like TCLP tests applied to vitrified solids, hah!) feeds the backlash at the GOP over continued use of the old code. How many of the comments here simply dismiss the idea in the article because it comes from the GOP? And how often are Democrats willing to sunset an old code before implementing a new one? It's a vicious intractable political cycle.

All I can think of is to put USGS.gov (US Geological Survey) or NASA in charge of EPA, as the problems at EPA are entrenched officials who don't know how to steer their ocean liner to catch the sunset. RCRA and CERCLA are broken, EPA officials know it, but they are too afraid that if they are removed they won't be able to get replacement law enacted, and won't be able to hire the type of people that would write good regulations out of the new laws. Or if it's a coding problem, maybe a software engineer can fix it.

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