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Scott Pruitt: Scientific advisers to the EPA shouldn’t have ties to…the EPA

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt told the conservative audience at a Heritage Foundation event this week that members of his agency’s scientific advisory committees should be “objective, independent-minded,” and “providing transparent recommendations.” So far, so good, right? But...then Pruitt went on to say that scientists who have received EPA grants for their research don’t meet those criteria, and he’ll soon issue a directive to “fix that.” Meanwhile, as reported by the Washington Post, the EPA’s list of 132 candidates to fill the 15 open positions on its influential Science Advisory Board includes numerous climate change deniers who have challenged the agency’s own climate science in court or have ties to the industries the agency regulates. Of course, Pruitt said nothing about excluding scientists whose positions would conflict with their corporate employers’ financial interests. “So let’s recap: According to some, scientists who receive money from oil and chemical companies are perfectly qualified to provide the EPA with independent science advice, while those who receive federal grants are not,” writes Michael Halpern, deputy director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It’s a fundamental misrepresentation of how conflicts of interest work.” The veil Pruitt is using to conceal this attack on public health and the environment is so thin, it’s…what’s the word? Transparent.  

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