WASHINGTON – A federal court today struck down an Environmental Protection Agency directive that banned many scientists from serving on the agency’s advisory boards. The U.S. District Court Southern District of New York ruled in favor of the Natural Resources Defense Council in its suit against EPA.
Following is a statement from Jon Devine, director of federal water policy for the Nature Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council:
"This is a victory for basic truth and good governance. It affirms the role of science in protecting our environment and public health. And it strikes down the EPA's pernicious scheme to stack the deck in favor of big polluters by trying to shut out the voices of scientists—all to pump more pollution into our lives."
NRDC sued EPA last year challenging an October 31, 2017 directive from former administrator Scott Pruitt, which led to the agency removing scientists from its roughly 23 advisory committees. NRDC asked the court to set aside the directive and all decisions based on it.
The directive was aimed at weakening the role of science in protecting the public from harmful chemicals and pollution. The directive sought to bar scientists who receive research grants from the EPA, mainly academic scientists from research universities who, the agency said, could be biased. The court found “no basis” for this allegation.
EPA’s claims also were hypocritical, as the agency allowed scientists, consultants and others who work for or receive funding from the chemical and fossil fuel industries to serve on these advisory boards.
More on the issue is in this NRDC blog: https://www.nrdc.org/experts/christina-swanson/pruitt-purges-independent-scientists-epa-advisory-boards
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at NRDC.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.