Trump administration hollows out EPA science integrity board

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Richardson, who on Saturday tweeted, "Today, I was Trumped", said that he was at the end of an initial three-year term but that members traditionally have served two such stints.

"We're not going to rubber-stamp the last administration's appointees", Friere told the Washington Post.

"The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community, Freire told The New York Times".

NYT's Coral Davenport reported the move is the "latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump administration to shrink the agency's regulatory reach by reducing the role of academic research".

It is not clear from what industries or companies the replacement members of the board could come. "Instead, they should participate in the same open competitive process as the rest of the applicant pool".

Freire told the Post that the EPA might consider industry scientific experts for some board positions as long as the appointments do not pose a conflict of interest.

"A spokesperson for EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said the administrator is considering replacing the five scientists with representatives of industries whose pollution the EPA polices".

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Gretchen Goldman, research director at the Center for Science and Democracy asked, "What's the scientific reason for removing these individuals from this EPA science review board?"

Conservative federal legislators have complained that the EPA's Scientific Advisory Board (a 47-member panel that works with the Board of Scientific Counselors) lacks "balance", although the board is independent and composed of relevant experts who can assess underlying science that informs EPA policy. Dropping experts who could challenge the scientific basis for his decisions might sound depressing, but it's wholly consistent with everything else we've seen so far.

President Donald Trump has directed Pruitt to radically remake the E.P.A., pushing for deep cuts in its budget, including a 40 per cent reduction for its main scientific branch, and instructing him to roll back major regulations made during former President Barack Obama's tenure on climate change and clean water protection, reports The New York Times.

Freire added, "We're making a clean break with the last administration's approach". "I think they want to bring in business and industry people", he added.

"I was kind of shocked to receive this news", Richardson told the Washington Post on Sunday regarding his dismissal from the board.

The Board of Scientific Counselors was established in 1996 with a mission of providing advice and recommendations on science and engineering practices and research done by the EPA's labs and scientists. "It's important that high-caliber, world-class, well-respected, well-published, objective scientists be appointed", he said, acknowledging there may be value to "enriching the mix of science that advises the EPA".