USA agency sacks major scientific review board members

USA agency sacks major scientific review board members
USA agency sacks major scientific review board members
Author

09 May, 2017

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has decided not to renew three-year terms for at least some scientists who advise the agency on its research and how that impacts certain environmental regulations. It's not until 10 paragraphs into Davenport's story do we find out Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) members serve three-year terms.

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.

"We're not going to rubber-stamp the last administration's appointees".

EPA spokesman JP Freire said the agency will consider new nominees, including those who may now work for chemical and fossil fuel companies.

The agency may consider industry scientific experts for some of the board positions, Freire said, as long as these appointments do not pose a conflict of interest. "Instead, they should participate in the same open competitive process as the rest of the applicant pool", he said.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is recusing himself from lawsuits he was previously involved in as attorney general of Oklahoma, including litigation over the Obama-era Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States rule. The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act - which has yet to be taken up by the Senate - would prohibit anyone who has an ongoing research grant from the EPA to serve on the board, and prohibits board members from applying for grants for three years after they step down from the panel.

Courtney Flint, a professor of natural resource sociology at Utah State University who had served one term on the board, said in an email that she was also surprised to learn that her term would not be renewed, "particularly since I was told that such a renewal was expected". Both the Board of Scientific Counselors and a larger, 47-person Scientific Advisory Board have come under criticism for bolstering the cause for greater federal regulation. Critics of President Donald Trump's EPA, including Democratic politicians and environmental groups, have said the administration's actions so far jeopardize research and actions meant to combat climate change and protect public health.

BCCI confirms India's Champions Trophy participation
The goal of the SGM was to take a call on the revenue loss and governance reforms at the International Cricket Council (ICC). Meanwhile, the board also cleared the deck for India's participation in next month's Champions Trophy in England and Wales.

The Trump administration also has called for deep cuts at the EPA, reducing its overall budget by almost a third, at the same time the administration has moved to reverse or slow some of the agency's regulatory decisions.

The EPA spokesperson said the agency wanted scientists from a more diverse background, including scientists from industry.

The EPA has been a major point of contention since the Trump administration took office.

Many in the scientific community have expressed fears that the move is illustrative of a broader effort to make the agency friendlier to industry at the expense of objective science.

It remains to be seen who will get appointed to the board.

We've reached out to the EPA to confirm exactly how many science advisors are being removed and will update if and when we hear back.


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