EPA to remove 40 Trump-appointed experts to restore ‘scientific integrity’

‘Scientific integrity is one of EPA’s foundational values,’ administrator Michael Regan says

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Wednesday 31 March 2021 22:28 BST

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The Biden administration will remove dozens of Trump-appointed experts previously appointed to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), the Washington Post reports.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan would remove more than 40 experts who were on the EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB) and Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) during the Trump administration – as the agency works to reconfigure its panels, it was revealed on Wednesday.

It is unusual for an administration to completely remove members from a panel who were appointed by the past administration, but President Joe Biden has indicated he would approach environmental policies like air pollution and fracking differently than his predecessor.

"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," Mr Regan said in a statement.

"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," he added.

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Experts would be able to apply for their current role if they wished to remain on one of the EPA panels they served, but they would be competing against other candidates.

Mr Regan would make the final selection of experts, the Associated Press reported.

This comes as the EPA was working to reverse several policies made under President Donald Trump, including a directive that prevented academics who received EPA research grants from serving on advisory committees.

The EPA has also boasted its commitment to science-based decisions, and it relaunched a webpage on its website dedicated to the climate crisis after the Trump administration previously removed it in 2017.

Other changes under the Biden administration included the president launching a task force that would look into political interference into scientific decisions under Mr Trump to ensure federal government policies related to science were free of any political influence.

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