WASHINGTON – Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt today announced a new policy to exclude any scientists who receive a research grant from EPA – typically academic scientists not affiliated with private companies – from serving on EPA science panels and advisory boards. But he has no similar plan to bar scientists and consultants working for corporations that have a financial interest in EPA decisions.
The following is a statement from Jennifer Sass, senior scientist in the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Health program:
“Pruitt’s purge has a single goal: get rid of scientists who tell us the facts about threats to our environment and health. There’s a reason he won’t apply the same limits to scientists funded by corporate polluters. Now the only scientists on Pruitt’s good list will be those with funding from polluters supporting Trump’s agenda to make America toxic again.”
Sass also noted that with Pruitt’s announcement the hostile takeover of EPA by the chemical, coal and oil industries is one step closer to completion. Barring academic scientists that receive EPA research grants from serving on EPA’s science panels will cut-off the flow of expert advice to the agency that is independent of the polluting industries Pruitt appears most dedicated to serving.
The policy signals that most science advisory positions will now be filled by industry-affiliated scientists with financial conflicts, and ensures that most science-based decisions coming from EPA for the foreseeable future will be slanted toward protecting polluters rather than public health and the environment. Pruitt’s policy poses a threat to the ability of EPA to receive credible review of its scientific work, and the ability of the agency to fulfill the mission for which it was created, Sass said.
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 www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.