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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Secret Science Reform Act Of 2014 November 19, 2014
David Schweikert, R-AZ
"Dear Mr. Chairman: Thank you for your letter of February 14, 2014, regarding the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) response to a subpoena duces tecum (subpoena) from the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (Committee). As you note in your letter, during and immediately after my November 14, 2013, appearance before your Committee, we agreed to additional dialogue regarding the EPA’s response to the subpoena. I understand that our staffs have had several discussions since that date, and made significant progress toward a common understanding of this matter. I want to thank you and your staff for your willingness to engage in these discussions, as I believe they have been both productive and constructive. Your subpoena sought data from the American Cancer Society and Harvard Six Cities cohorts, as well as analyses and re- analyses of that data. In particular, the subpoena sought data from studies that utilized data from the American Cancer Society and Harvard Six Cities cohorts. Once the EPA received the subpoena, we conducted a diligent search for data, as well as analyses and re-analyses of that data that were already in our possession, custody, or control that would be responsive to the subpoena. In addition, we considered what data, as well as analyses and re-analyses of that data, were not in our possession, custody, or control on the date we received the subpoena, but that may still be within the scope of the Committee’s subpoena. For data, as well as analyses and re-analyses of that data, that were not in the EPA’s possession, custody, or control but that could still be considered within the scope of the subpoena, the EPA sought to identify a legal authority for the agency to obtain that information so that it could be provided to the Committee. In this case, the Shelby Amendment (Public Law 105-277) provides the EPA with the authority to obtain certain research data that was not in the agency’s possession, custody, or control on the date we received the subpoena, and the EPA utilized that authority to obtain that data. The actions taken in response to the subpoena are detailed in an enclosure (Enclosure 1) to this letter, and included multiple interactions with the third party owners of the research data in an effort to obtain that data. Once the agency successfully obtained the research data, we undertook a review of this data to determine whether the release of the data would raise privacy concerns. The agency sought the assistance of the Centers for Disease Control in this inquiry as well, in an effort to ensure the privacy of the subjects of the data was not compromised. Through its efforts, the EPA located within its possession, custody, or control, or obtained through its authority, the data for five studies listed in the subpoena. Any other data, as well as analyses and re-analyses of that data, that may be within the scope of the subpoena, whether specifically listed in the subpoena or not, are not (and were not) in the possession, custody, or control of the EPA, nor are they within the authority to obtain data that the agency identified. However, the issuance of the subpoena does not provide the agency with any additional authority to obtain data, as well as analyses and re-analyses of that data, that we otherwise do not have the authority to obtain. All responsive data, as well as analyses and re-analyses of that data, located or obtained during our efforts to respond to the subpoena have been provided to the Committee. The EPA provided that data to the Committee through letters sent prior to our receipt of the subpoena, and then our letters responding to the subpoena of August 19, 2013, September 16, 2013, and September 30, 2013. The EPA provided the Committee with the data for these five studies in exactly the same format the data were provided to us. Importantly, the agency was able to work through the various privacy concerns so that we would not need to de-identify any of the data. As of the EPA’s letter of September 30, 2013, the agency has provided the Committee with all of the data covered by the subpoena that the agency has obtained or has the authority to obtain under the Shelby Amendment. Additionally, the EPA has not withheld any data in our possession that is responsive to the subpoena. Thus, the EPA has completed its response to the subpoena. The EPA acknowledges, however, that the data provided are not sufficient in themselves to replicate the analyses in the epidemiological studies, nor would they allow for the one to one mapping of each pollutant and ecological variable to each subject. For the reasons explained in our previous letters on this topic, these acknowledgements do not call into question the EPA’s reliance on these studies for regulatory actions. Your February 14, 2014, letter also requests the grant agreements related to the studies covered by the subpoena, and those documents are being provided with this letter. These EPA grant agreements span from 1998 to 2006 and contain a variety of data access provisions. Despite that variation, the EPA has reviewed each of the agreements and determined that each grant agreement contained data access provisions that are consistent with the EPA grant regulations at the time of the award. The EPA’s current practice is to incorporate into our grant agreements a reference to the agency’s regulations regarding access to research data funded by the grant. Thank you again for the opportunity to explain the actions the EPA took in responding to your subpoena. Sincerely, Gina McCarthy."
Honoring Our Armed Forces November 19, 2014
Mitch McConnell, R-KY
"Mr. President, I rise this morning to celebrate the life and mourn the loss of a soldier from Kentucky who died while serving in uniform. PFC Joshua Gray of Van Lear, KY, lost his life on February 10, 2014, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, from a noncombat-related incident."
Executive Orders November 19, 2014
Charles Grassley, R-IA
"Providing Congress and the American people with the legal opinions supporting his unilateral actions seemed like a reasonable request of a President who had claimed to support “an unprecedented level of openness” and transparency in government. But February passed, March as well, April came and went, winter turned into spring, and summer was around the corner. Finally, on May 20 I received a response from the Justice Department. In summary, the Department told me no, they wouldn’t disclose these opinions to the public. However, the Department assured me that if I had questions about particular Office of Legal Counsel advice documents, it would assist me in understanding them—in their words—to the fullest extent possible. In short, the administration stonewalled legitimate questions from Congress, as it often does, and stymied this Congress from carrying out its constitutional responsibility of oversight."
In Recognition Of James Vincent Tasa November 14, 2014
Jackie Speier, D-CA
"Chief Tasa first joined the Pacifica Police Department as an officer in 1982. Ten years later he was promoted to the rank of Police Sergeant and in 2002 he was promoted to the rank of Police Captain. He successfully completed the POST California Law Enforcement Command College in 2007 and in 2011 he was promoted to his current position as Pacifica’s Chief of Police. Though he officially retired in February of this year, he continued to serve as Chief until now to allow the City of Pacifica time to search for his replacement."
Honoring Sergeant Milton Moore November 13, 2014
Bennie Thompson, D-MS
"Sergeant Moore was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in February 2010, scoring the highest of all candidates. Sergeant Moore is presently serving as a shift commander, where he currently has 9 officers under his command."

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