GOP lawmakers slam EPA chief over firing of science advisers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two House Republicans are demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency present information associated to a call by the company’s new chief to take away dozens of scientists and different consultants from two key advisory boards.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan has stated the advisers appointed below the Trump administration had been overly pleasant to business and that his March 31 “reset” of the Science Advisory Board and Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee would return EPA to its observe of counting on recommendation from a balanced group of consultants.

Regan’s overhaul eliminated greater than 45 members of the 2 science advisory boards, together with some whose phrases don’t expire this year. The panels present scientific experience and suggestions for air high quality requirements and different insurance policies meant to guard public well being and the atmosphere.

But GOP Reps. James Comer of Kentucky and Ralph Norman of South Carolina criticized Regan for what they known as an unwarranted “purge” primarily based extra on politics than science. Comer is the senior Republican on the House Oversight Committee, whereas Norman is the highest Republican on the panel’s atmosphere subcommittee.

“Traditionally science advisory boards are bipartisan panels used to provide advice to the administrator. Unfortunately, it appears the Biden administration is continuing to purge officials in the government who do not share its political beliefs,″ Comer and Norman wrote Wednesday in a letter to Regan.

“The midterm firing of science advisory board members within the first months of a new administration …. raises serious concerns about the politicization of the EPA,” they added.

Regan advised The Associated Press in an interview late final month that whereas he was clearing out the 2 vital panels, ousted members can apply for reinstatement.

“Scientific integrity is a foundational value for EPA,″ Regan said. “And I am committing to ensuring that every single decision we make meets rigorous scientific standards.”

Democrats have stated a 2017 choice by Donald Trump’s first EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, to take away many educational scientists from the advisory panels tilted them in favor of the chemical and fossil gas industries. Pruitt barred scientists from serving on the advisory boards if that they had obtained EPA analysis grants. Pruitt later resigned amid ethics scandals however his insurance policies had been largely continued below his successor and former deputy, Andrew Wheeler.

John Graham, the previous chairman of the Science Advisory Board, stated final week that Regan’s “radical motion″ disrupted his service and that of each board member. The Indiana University professor stated he is not going to reapply “as a result of I respectfully protest the whole course of that Administrator Regan has concocted.″

Regan, 44, was sworn in March 11 as the primary Black man to run the EPA. He served as North Carolina’s prime environmental regulator for 4 years earlier than that and likewise labored on the EPA in the course of the Clinton and Bush administrations.

He advised the AP that the reset of the 2 advisory boards — and the elimination of all members of each boards — “are indicative of how severe we’re about repairing the scientific integrity at EPA.″

The EPA additionally will likely be half of a White House effort to research Trump-era political interference in science throughout the chief department, Regan stated.

In their letter, Comer and Norman requested the EPA to supply by April 21 all paperwork and communications — together with any with the White House — from Jan. 20 on associated to the ouster of the advisory board members.

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