Trump’s EPA Just Tossed the Last Scientists from ‘Scientific Advisory Board’
move makes room for trump sympathizers
Trump’s EPA continues its wipe-out of scientific advisers and researchers with the latest round of pink slips handed out by EPA Chief Scott Pruitt. Dozens of scientists have been told their expertise has run its course as this EPA continues a track to dial back environmental regulations that Trump has long claimed thwarts the American economy.
In an unprecedented move, Pruitt has eliminated committee chairs and subcommittees, cancelled their upcoming meetings and pulled the plug on an advisory board that regularly assists the EPA with Environmental policy. Deborah Swackhamer, current executive committee chair for the Board of Scientific Counselors, the latest committee to gt the axe, says the upheaval is an ominous sign.
“It effectively wipes out the BOSC and leaves it free for a complete reappointment. With the latest information from EPA, 38 of the 49 remaining subcommittee members will not be renewed at the end of August.”
Critics argue that dissolving relationships with these advisers opens the door to stacking the BOSC. Already Trump sympathizers, including science deniers and industry heads most likely to benefit from the new direction and deregulation, have come out of the woodwork to prop up this apparently anti-environmental administration. Agency spokesperson Amy Graham spun the switch-up to sound like business as usual.
“EPA is grateful for the service of all BOSC members, past and present, and has encouraged those with expiring terms to reapply We are taking an inclusive approach to filling future BOSC appointments and welcome all applicants from all relevant scientific and technical fields”
The agency delivered the news via email , encouraging board members to reapply by the June 30th deadline. However, Peter Meyer, an economist with the E.P. Systems Group who resigned from a different committee in protest of the EPA’s new unscientific direction says he and other scientists were duped into thinking they would be allowed to stay on.
“We were told quite explicitly by the leadership of the sustainable and healthy communities group … that our assignment was a four-to-five-year assignment,” That was what we were told at our first meeting. That produces an assumption that you’re going to get reappointed so that you can complete the job.”
Swakhamer agrees,saying that the assumption,because of how appointments were handled in past administrations, was that term renewals were standard.
“To be renewed for a second term is usually anticipated, expected, and the only time you might not serve a second term is if your expertise was no longer needed.”
The BOSC traditionally advised the EPA ‘s Office of Research and Development, an arm of the agency the Trump Administration has been looking to gut. Replacing scientists with intellectual deniers and lobbyists is certainly circumstantial evidence to support Swakhamer’s theory that scientific expertise is, as she said, ‘no longer needed’.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
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