Why EPA has dismissed half of its key board’s scientific advisers?
Nine scientists have been dismissed from the EPA’s 18-person Board of Scientific Counselors—ostensibly to include more voices from regulated industries, though the scientists say their work was apolitical and did not involve regulations. The US government has also postponed an important meeting scheduled for Tuesday to determine whether the country should or should not withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, a matter that President Donald Trump promised to decide this month.
Last Friday, nine scientists have been dismissed from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 's 18-person Board of Scientific Counselors—ostensibly to include more voices from regulated industries, though the scientists say their work was apolitical and did not involve regulations, as reported in The Atlantic.
Preparing response to natural Pandemics and biological terrorism are among the strategic responsibilities of the EPA scientific board, which Trump has decided to fire (at least half of them).
For example, the EPA scientific board is responsible for managing public health crisis, like avoiding the spread of Ebola disease by controlling the disposal of medical waste who had come into contact with the virus.
Behind the decision to dismiss the nine scientific counselors is Scott Pruitt, the controversial new Administrator of the EPA, appointed by Trump. The head of the EPA has said he is not convinced carbon dioxide from human activity is the main driver of climate change and wants Congress to weigh in on whether CO2 should be regulated.
According to The Washington Post, "Pruitt is planning a much broader overhaul of how the agency conducts its scientific analysis. In the past years, Republican lawmakers have frequently criticized the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) for its recommendation that the EPA impose much stricter curbs on smog-forming ozone. Most of the members of EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors were appointed in the second term of Obama's mandate and expected to be kept on for another term. However, they were not political appointees, but scientific appointees.
“Today, I was Trumped,” tweeted Robert Richardson, an ecological economist and an associate professor in Michigan State University’s Department of Community Sustainability. “I’ve never heard of any circumstance where someone didn’t serve two consecutive terms,” he said, adding that the dismissals gave him “great concern that objective science is being marginalized in this administration.”
The Guardian reported that the nine academics who have been suspended worked on matters including toxic water pollution, climate change and chemical safety. "The decision to not renew them as members of the Board reflects how the Trump administration is trying to put the scientific board "in line with its industry-friendly agenda, which is not exactly friendly to pollution regulatory rules.
By the way, on Wednesday the United States government announced that is postponing an important meeting scheduled for Tuesday to determine whether the country should or should not withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, a matter that President Donald Trump promised to decide this month.