The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the Trump administration, has "eviscerated" a key scientific review board in order to replace them with industry professionals, the board's chair has said. The affected board members' terms expired April 30. All of the members being dismissed were at the end of serving at least one three-year term, although these terms are often renewed instead of terminated. Conservatives also have been seeking new appointments to the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and the Science Advisory Board to help buttress any EPA moves to reverse Obama-era ozone limits or the agency's landmark 2009 conclusion that greenhouse gas emissions endanger the public health and welfare.
President Trump signing an executive order on energy in March beside EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (second from left).
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has always been a fierce critic of the agency he now leads, saying its scientists often fail to weigh the cost of implementing new regulations on businesses.
Freire said there was no specific plan to seek out more industry appointees for the Board of Scientific Counselors.
It would mark the latest step from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration to reshape the agency in a way that cuts its reach and allows businesses to operate with fewer constraints.
"We're not going to rubber-stamp the last administration's appointees".
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.
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Kailash Gahlot, who represents the Najafgarh Assembly constituency, will take over Mishra's portfolio now. Mishra said: "I have witnessed HIM (Kejriwal) taking illegal cash".
The board is comprised of top academic experts in a variety of environment-related fields, and the board's role is to ensure that the EPA carries out its mission based on the best available science.
Freire added, "We're making a clean break with the last administration's approach".
Greenwire reported as many as 12 BOSC members were not given a second three-year term, according to Greenwire, which claimed these advisers were "fired". "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".
"The EPA routinely stacks this board with friendly scientists who receive millions of dollars in grants from the federal government", Smith said at the time.
In fact, the academics who did not get another three year term can reapply for their board positions, but now they'll have to compete in a larger pool of applicants.
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. Dropping experts who could challenge the scientific basis for his decisions might sound depressing, but it's wholly consistent with everything else we've seen so far.