May 8, 2017

EPA and Interior Dept. dismiss, suspend scientific advisers

Carlos Osorio / AP

Late last week the EPA dismissed half the scientific advisers from the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), and the Interior Department suspended more than 200 of its advisory boards late last week, according to the Washington Post. These boards review the science behind the policies at EPA and Interior.

Key point: The SAB does not usually report to or receive attention from the EPA administrator like this. According to a senior administration official, this shows Scott Pruitt "is planning a much broader overhaul of how the agency conducts its scientific analysis."

The agencies' explanations: The EPA spokesman said, "[w]e're not going to rubber-stamp the last administration's appointees. Instead, they should participate in the same open competitive process as the rest of the applicant pool." Unlike Pruitt, Interior Secretary Zinke will take time to consider whether the advisory boards were helpful before making a more permanent move.

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