Trump administration hollows out EPA science integrity board

Trump administration hollows out EPA science integrity board

"As the Department concludes its review in the weeks ahead, agencies will notice future meetings to ensure that the Department continues to get the benefit of the views of local communities in all decision-making on public land management".

Robert Richardson, an ecological economist at Michigan State and member of the Board of Scientific Counselors which reviews research done by EPA scientists, sounded the alarm over the dismissals on Friday, telling his Twitter followers: "Today, I was Trumped". Former board members tell the Times that it would review research such as oil spills, the chemicals used to clean oil spills up and the effects of bark beetles due to climate change. "This one was really unexpected, and in concert with everything else that has been going on and the challenges to science, this is troubling", he said by phone.

Pruitt, who does not believe in the scientific consensus on climate change, sued the EPA 14 times before leading it and took over with the intention of shrinking the agency.

Friere, however, said the decision to replace some members of the Board of Scientific Counselors - who were notified of the decision on Friday - was simply meant to broaden the pool of advisors and, he told the New York Times, to "take as inclusive an approach to regulation as possible". "Instead, they should participate in the same open competitive process as the rest of the applicant pool".

Those notified in recent days may, in the end, be reappointed, he said.

Pruitt has been attacked by critics for his closeness to the energy industry, raising concerns from environmentalists that he will move to replace the board members with more individuals from the energy sector. O'Grady, a leader of the EPA's employees union. The same scientists say this move was surprising as they were told their contracts would not be an issue before Trump's inauguration. "We're just interested in finding the best candidates, the most qualified candidates", he said.

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But EPA career staffers misspoke, and the Trump administration had no intention of keeping the Obama holdovers. That money typically covers travel and other expenses for outside experts who attend the board's public meetings.

"We are watching for how the process works to replace them", Goldman said.

"These people aren't Obama appointees, they are scientific appointees".

There are hundreds of federal advisory committees across the USA government.

On top of that, BOSC can already include renown experts from industry. At a February House hearing, he said the Science Advisory Board members are "rubber stamps who approve all the EPA's regulation". "It's important that high-caliber, world-class, well-respected, well-published, objective scientists be appointed", he said, acknowledging there may be value to "enriching the mix of science that advises the EPA".

"I am profoundly committed to carrying out my ethical responsibilities", Pruitt said in the statement.

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