Jun 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

EPA chief reinstates advisory board after March "reset"

Photo of Michael Regan wearing a suit and speaking
EPA chief Michael Regan. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan has reinstated one of two key advisory boards, both of which he dismantled in March as a commitment to "scientific integrity," AP reports.

Why it matters: These panels help provide scientific guidance to the agency that can inform its rule-making on air quality standards and other environmental policies.

  • Regan, some Democrats and watchdog groups have said the Trump administration's appointed advisers were viewed as overly friendly to business and favored the chemical and fossil fuel industries.
    • Former President Trump's first EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, removed several academic scientists from the panels before resigning amid a slew of ethics scandals. His successor, Andrew Wheeler, largely continued his policies.
  • The March "reset," as Regan termed it, helped to overhaul the clean-air panel and Science Advisory Board, removing more than 45 members from the two boards.
  • The reinstated panels will allow EPA to return to relying on guidance from a balanced group of experts, according to Regan.

What they're saying: "From the very beginning of my tenure, I have committed to ensuring that science is restored as the backbone of everything EPA does to protect people and the environment from pollution," Regan told AP.

  • The new advisory panel will provide "credible, independent expertise to EPA’s reviews of air quality standards that is grounded in scientific evidence," he added.
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