EPA chief to replace Trump appointees on science advisory panels

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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael ReganMichael ReganFour Great Lakes governors call on White House to aid in water infrastructure upgrades White House to probe whether Trump interfered in scientific research OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden administration backs sweeping new offshore wind power program | Top Natural Resources Republican asks Haaland for details on national monuments | White House names members of environmental justice panel MORE announced Wednesday that the EPA will reconstitute two advisory panels that saw numerous members removed during the Trump administration, dismissing 40 Trump appointees in the process.

The EPA’s Science Advisory Board and Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) will be reconfigured in a way that undoes what Regan characterized as undue political and industry influence under former agency chiefs Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA reinstates climate webpage taken down under Trump | Senate panel spars over financial regulators’ climate agenda | Environmental group, community activists petition EPA to block Georgia wood pellet plant EPA reinstates climate webpage taken down under Trump OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA’s ‘secret science’ rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 MORE and Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerEPA asks court to toss Trump rule that could prevent emissions limits on polluting industries Judge approves .5B Daimler settlement in diesel emissions probe EPA sued by environmental groups over Trump-era smog rule MORE.

“Scientific integrity is one of EPA’s foundational values – and as Administrator, I am committed to ensuring that every decision we make meets rigorous scientific standards,” Regan said in a statement Wednesday.


“Resetting these two scientific advisory committees will ensure the agency receives the best possible scientific insight to support our work to protect human health and the environment. Today we return to a time-tested, fair, and transparent process for soliciting membership to these critically important advisory bodies.”

Regan cited a number of Trump administration moves that he said the agency will undo. These include an October 2017 internal directive that barred the recipients of EPA research grants from concurrently serving on advisory panels.

He said the EPA also will roll back the previous elimination of “key air pollution review panels that have augmented the CASAC for decades.”

Wheeler disbanded the CASAC’s Particulate Matter Review Panel in October 2018. The following year, the scientists who served on the committee announced they would reconvene without government backing.

In a 2019 report, the Government Accountability Office concluded that the agency did not properly follow agency processes for selecting the “best qualified and most appropriate candidates” in appointing industry representatives and consultants to the Science Advisory Board. Recipients of industry funding were not subject to the same restrictions as recipients of EPA research grants.