EPA cleans up the Trump Administration science advisors

D.Dozens of members of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Scientific Advisory Board and the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Board who served under former President Donald Trump have been sacked. On March 31, the agency issued a press release announcing the departures. EPO Administrator Michael Regan cited “scientific integrity” as the reason for cleaning the house.

The EPA was fraught with controversy during the Trump administration’s four years as industry lobbyists – some of whom had built careers fighting the EPA – were promoted to their highest echelons. The press release cites “shortcomings” in the committees’ activities in recent years, including the withdrawal of protection for clean water, the non-regulation of pesticides known to be harmful to humans and bees, the politicization of the distribution of grants (which later became reversed before a federal court). and a heavily criticized plan to limit scientific input, also overturned on February 1 by a federal judge.

To go back to these guidelines, the EPA is starting by recomposing who sits on the two advisory boards and is encouraging current members to reapply for review according to the standards of the current administration. The statement claims that no members have been appointed using the “standard procedure” in recent years.

“Scientific integrity is one of the EPA’s core values ​​- and as an administrator, I strive to ensure that every decision we make meets rigorous scientific standards,” Regan said in the statement. “Resetting these two scientific advisory committees will ensure that the agency receives the best possible scientific evidence to support our work to protect human health and the environment. Today we are returning to a proven, fair and transparent process for applying for membership in these important advisory bodies. “

Normally, there would be more of a transition period from one group of board members to the next, the EPA says. The decision to start with a clean board this way has been criticized by Republicans who worked at the EPA during previous presidencies. Jeff Holmstead, the former head of the Air and Radiation Bureau under former President George W. Bush, said The Washington Post that the decision “ham” and “is a mistake in terms of building trust in the agency”. The post Office John Graham, former chairman of Trump’s Scientific Advisory Board, also said he would “respectfully protest the entire process that Administrator Regan invented” and not reapply.

“Science wasn’t challenged before the previous administration,” Regan told the Associated Press. “We set the agenda here based on the president’s vision and we have a responsibility to protect public health and the environment.”

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