Quantcast

EPA Limits Independent Science Advisors, Provokes Conflict of Interest Concerns

Popular
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board public meeting on fracking's effect on drinking water, June 14, 2016. YouTube

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt announced a new policy Tuesday to limit the presence of researchers who have received EPA research grants on the agency's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).

The move, which Pruitt has said will promote "objective, independent-minded" advisors, has been promoted by conservative think tanks and industry as a way of including more industry voices on advisory panels.


A list provided to the Washington Post and E&E News of expected new appointees to the advisory board shows several industry representatives, government officials and outspoken proponents of deregulation. The move "bans some independent scientists from providing scientific advice while giving those with conflicts a free pass," Michael Halpern of the Union of Concerned Scientists wrote in a blog post quoted by Politico.

"Collectively, these actions create an abhorrent double standard: scientists who rely on public funding are left out, while industry scientists face no restrictions on service," Halpern added. "Fossil fuel and chemical companies already enjoy undue influence over EPA policy under Pruitt. Now, they're taking control over science advice to the agency."

As reported by the Washington Post:

"The move represents a fundamental shift, one that could change the scientific and technical advice that historically has guided the agency as it crafts environmental regulations. The decision to bar any researcher who receives EPA grant money from serving as an adviser appears to be unprecedented."

The Post added that Terry F. Yosie, the advisory board's director during the Reagan administration, said the changes "represent a major purge of independent scientists and a decision to sideline the SAB from major EPA decision-making in the future."

For a deeper dive:

Washington Post, Politico Pro, E&E

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

American bison roaming Badlands National park, South Dakota. Prisma / Dukas / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

By Clay Bolt

On Oct. 11 people around the world celebrated the release of four plains bison onto a snow-covered butte in Badlands National Park, South Dakota.

Read More Show Less
An EPA sponsored cleanup of the toxic Gowanus Canal dredges a section of the canal of industrial debris on Oct. 28, 2016 in Brooklyn. The Gowanus is a Superfund site from years of industrial waste spilling into the water, and it is listed in GAO's report to be at risk from a climate disaster. Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis / Getty Images

The climate crisis has put at least 945 designated toxic waste sites at severe risk of disaster from escalating wildfires, floods, rising seas and other climate-related disasters, according to a new study from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
(L) Selma Three Stone Engagement Ring. (R) The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna

By Bailey Hopp

If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.

Read More Show Less
Rob Greenfield pictured above is driven by the concept of "living a life where [he] can wake up and feel good about [his] life." Rob Greenfield / Facebook

For one year Rob Greenfield grew and foraged all of his own food. No grocery stores, no restaurants, no going to a bar for a drink, not even medicines from the pharmacy.

Read More Show Less
Apple has removed all 181 vaping-related apps from its App Store. VioletaStoimenova / E+ / Getty Images

Apple has removed all 181 vaping-related apps from its App Store, the company announced on Friday. The removal of the apps comes after thousands of people across the country have developed lung illnesses from vaping and 42 people have died.

Read More Show Less