Trump Scientific Adviser Shakeup Could Mean More Industry Advice

May 09, 2017, 07:28
Trump Scientific Adviser Shakeup Could Mean More Industry Advice

The Environmental Protection Agency has suddenly cleaned house on one of its central scientific review boards - dismissing half of the members who were told their positions are safe.

Richardson, who on Saturday tweeted, "Today, I was Trumped", said that he was at the end of an initial three-year term but that members traditionally have served two such stints.

Two specific panels have been named already: The 47-member Science Advisory Board, which evaluates certain regulations and helps direct research done for the agency, and the Board of Scientific Counselors, an 18-member panel that assesses the diligence of that research.

"We're not going to rubber-stamp the last administration's appointees", Freire told the Washington Post.

An EPA spokesman told the New York Times: "The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community".

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In an emailed statement the EPA said, "EPA received hundreds of nominations to serve on the board, and we want to ensure fair consideration of all the nominees - including those nominated who may have previously served on the panel - and carry out a competitive nomination process".

The dismissals came about six weeks after the House passed a bill aimed at changing the composition of another E.P.A. scientific review board to include more representation from the corporate world.

Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will recuse himself from legal cases he brought against the agency in his earlier job as attorney general of Oklahoma, E&E News reported last week.

The Board of Science Counselors has 18 members, at least five of whom were dismissed on Friday.

An EPA spokesperson did not respond to TPM's questions about whether, or how dramatically, Pruitt meant to change the balance of the board to favor industry scientists.

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The move comes as the EPA has taken steps to begin unwinding the last administration's regulations on fuel economy and climate change, among other areas.

The EPA has been a major point of contention since the Trump administration took office.

Smith has long vilified the EPA, accusing federal scientists of pushing an "extreme climate agenda". "Perhaps more significant is the signal it sends about the politicization of science, which will likely exacerbate mistrust and cynicism of the federal government".

The Board of Scientific Counselors was established in 1996 with a mission of providing advice and recommendations on science and engineering practices and research done by the EPA's labs and scientists. EPA officials confirmed to several news organizations over the weekend that several. The individuals on these boards are appointed based on scientific expertise not politics.

The Interior Department, which has more than 200 groups created to solicit input, is now reviewing the charter and charge of each board and advisory committee; the evaluation forced the temporary postponement of advisory committee meetings, the department said in an emailed statement.

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