Credo Action

Investigate the EPA's removal of independent scientists from advisory boards

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The petition to the comptroller general of the United States and the Government Accountability Office reads:

"Investigate Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt's decision to ban EPA-funded scientists from scientific advisory boards."

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    Investigate the EPA's removal of independent scientists from advisory boards

    As the head of Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt is shameless in his quest to get rid of environmental protections. In the latest assault on his own agency's mission, Pruitt has quietly moved to replace independent scientists on EPA advisory boards with fossil fuel and chemical industry representatives.

    This attack on science and scientists affects all of us. EPA advisory boards make recommendations about our environmental safety and protection – covering everything from pesticides and hazardous waste to climate and air pollution. We must resist Pruitt's blatant efforts to undermine scientific integrity at every turn.

    Tell the comptroller general of the United States: Investigate the EPA's removal of government-funded scientists from advisory boards.

    Pruitt has banned scientists who have received EPA grants from serving on advisory boards, claiming that he is eliminating conflicts of interest. In fact, his policy does the opposite. Pruitt is getting rid of academic experts – who rely on outside research funding – and replacing them with corporate-funded scientists. Because research grants often go to the top scientists in a given field, Pruitt's policy systematically excludes many of the most qualified scientists from advising the EPA.

    Just five days after announcing his new policy, Pruitt appointed 66 new scientists to advisory boards – many with ties to the same polluting companies the EPA is supposed to be regulating, including Phillips 66, Dow Chemical and Procter & Gamble.1 Two of the new board chairs have attacked the EPA's science in the past.2

    Now 10 senators have called on the Government Accountability Office to investigate. In their words (emphasis in original):

    The double-standard is striking: an academic scientist that receives an EPA grant for any purpose cannot provide independent advice on a completely different subject matter on any of EPA's science advisory boards, while industry scientists are presumed to have no inherent conflict if their research is entirely funded by a company with a financial stake in an advisory board's conclusions.3

    Stand with these senators and demand an investigation into Pruitt's corporate takeover of scientific advisory boards.

    Tell the comptroller general of the United States: Investigate the EPA's removal of government-funded scientists from advisory boards.

    References:

    1. Juliet Eilperin, "EPA’s new science advisers add more industry experts, conservatives to the mix," The Washington Post, Nov. 4, 2017.
    2. Ibid.
    3. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse et al., "Letter to the Honorable Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States," Nov. 9, 2017.