The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cleaned house on its scientific review board last week, dismissing at least five scientists on its 18-member Board of Scientific Counselors.
The scientists, including professors of natural resource sociology, told multiple outlets they were surprised to receive notices that they would not be asked to renew their tenure on the board, especially after being assured in January that they would retain their positions through the new administration.
A spokesperson for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told the New York Times that the agency was considering filling the vacancies with representatives from industry the EPA regulates, in order to include members who "understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community."
Concerned current board members told the Times that the dismissals could be seen as a "test balloon" for further political moves against science.
Robert Richardson, an ecological economist at Michigan State University and one of those dismissed, said, the cuts "just came out of nowhere."
"The role that science has played in the agency in the past, this step is a significant step in a different direction," he said. "Anecdotally, based on what we know about the administrator, I think it will be science that will appear to be friendlier to industry, the fossil fuel industry, the chemical industry, and I think it will be science that marginalizes climate change science."
Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that the dismal of the scientists "is completely part of a multifaceted effort to get science out of the way of a deregulation agenda."
What seems to be premature removals of members of this Board of Science Counselors when the board has come out in favor of the EPA strengthening its climate science, plus the severe cuts to research and development—you have to see all these things as interconnected."
For a deeper dive:
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Carey Gillam
For the last five years, Chris Stevick has helped his wife Elaine in her battle against a vicious type of cancer that the couple believes was caused by Elaine's repeated use of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide around a California property the couple owned. Now the roles are reversed as Elaine must help Chris face his own cancer.
The last 50 years have been brutal for wildlife. Animals have lost their habitats and seen their numbers plummet. Now a new report from a British conservation group warns that habitat destruction and increased pesticide use has on a trajectory for an "insect apocalypse," which will have dire consequences for humans and all life on Earth, as The Guardian reported.
By Jake Johnson
A Greenpeace report released Tuesday uses a hypothetical "Smart Supermarket" that has done away with environmentally damaging single-use plastics to outline a possible future in which the world's oceans and communities are free of bags, bottles, packaging and other harmful plastic pollutants.
By Irene Banos Ruiz
Pediatricians in New Delhi, India, say children's lungs are no longer pink, but black.
Our warming planet is already impacting the health of the world's children and will shape the future of an entire generation if we fail to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6°F), the 2019 Lancet Countdown Report on health and climate change shows.