jh-siesta.com January 19, 2018

EPA, DOI Join Congress' Push To Overhaul Science Panels

09 May 2017, 07:27 | Ignacio Ramos

Home Environment | Health Climate Change Disappears From EPA Website Climate Change Disappears From EPA Website

Home Environment | Health Climate Change Disappears From EPA Website   
           Climate Change Disappears From EPA Website

Board of Scientific Counselors Chairwoman Deborah Swackhamer said today that nine of the 18 outside experts on her panel saw their three-year terms expire April 30.

Scientists on the board said they were told during the Obama administration that their terms would be renewed, as they normally were for at least a second term.

It is primarily made up of academic scientists and other experts who review EPA's research to ensure that the regulations the agency undertakes have a sound scientific basis.

"We're not going to rubber-stamp the last administration's appointees", Freire told the Washington Post.

EPA spokesman J.P. Freire said in an email that "no one has been fired or terminated", and that Pruitt had simply chose to bring in fresh advisers.

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.

EPA wants to open up the process to the hundreds of applicants that were not considered by the Obama administration.

There is a notable ideological shift at the agency under the Trump administration and EPA head Scott Pruitt. Former board members tell the Times that it would review research such as oil spills, the chemicals used to clean oil spills up and the effects of bark beetles due to climate change. That has included the 47-member Scientific Advisory Board, which Republican members of Congress have said needs reworking to "provide meaningful and unbiased scientific advice" and increased transparency.

Courtney Flint, a professor at Utah State University on the Board of Scientific Counselors, said in a statement Monday that the news she received Friday "came as a surprise".

According to the Washington Post, an overhaul of scientific boards is not unique to the EPA this week.

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. "These folks were appointed for three-year terms, they're not guaranteed a second three-year term".

Other media reports had Friere saying the changes were meant to allow new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt - who has been a long-standing critic of the agency - to bring in new advisers, and that he would consider replacing academics on the board with people from industry as long as the appointments did not lead to conflicts of interest. While the move has outraged some environmentalists, it seems completely in line with Pruitt's longstanding goal of curtailing the EPA's regulatory power from within.

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.

One scientist on the board said he had never before seen a person not reappointed to the board during a presidential transition.

Other News

Trending Now

Pentagon considers sending more troops to Afghanistan
Deliberations by the Trump administration to determine the way ahead for the war in Afghanistan come with a grim backdrop. The U.S. says it has 8,400 troops in Afghanistan , one-quarter of which are for the counterterrorism mission.

LeBron James scores 35 points, Cavaliers sweep Raptors
Washington has been a dominant team at home this season, but has been lackluster at best away from the Verizon Center. The margin reached 12, but Wall roared from there with all 14 of his first-half points coming in the second quarter.

College commissioners make early signing period official
Beginning with the 2019 graduating class, official visits can be made beginning April 1, 2018, during their junior year. However, only the Collegiate Commissioners Association can create new national letter of intent signing periods.

Alvarez sleepwalks through Chavez, Golovkin next
While it appeared that September of this year was a possibility, the fight may now have to wait until 2018. Fans began to boo in the final few rounds, perhaps because of the fight's one-sided nature.

Rangers top Senators, even the series at 2-2
Karlsson played during the first round with two microfractures in one of his feet from blocking a shot late in the regular season. Saturday's most dramatic moment in an exciting game came with time winding down and the Senators down by a goal.

China forces Blizzard to reveal 'Overwatch' loot box drop rates
And in ensuring the continued success of Overwatch all around the world, Blizzard has chosen to comply with these measures. Seems like we're just gonna have to live with loot boxes, though, because they're clearly not going anywhere any time soon.

Mets suspend Harvey for violating team rules; Wilk to start
He is hitting.313 with a home run and four RBIs in 20 games, ranking among National League rookie leaders in batting average. "We've got some good pranksters in here, that's for sure", Plawecki said. "So I let a couple of emotions out a little bit".

Army arrests 12-year-old son of former Pak soldier on LoC
The Indian Army had, on Wednesday, said it will retaliate against Pakistani forces' alleged mutilation of Indian soldiers' bodies at a time and place of its choosing.

NWS confirms 6 tornadoes touched down in Virginia Friday
Packing winds of between 70 and 80 mph, the tornado had a maximum width of 100 yards and traveled about six miles. The tornado touched down just east of the Chowan River near Whites Landing Road and Gum Pond Road.

FACT CHECK: Claims about Trump's tax plan don't hold up
Trump's plan would help pay for lower individual tax rates by eliminating deductions , exemptions and credits. But especially on the business side, Trump's plan lacks numerous details needed to make the numbers work.