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EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler in September 2019. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward with efforts to weaken wetland regulation and restrict the use of scientific studies to inform new rules, despite criticisms from its scientific advisers, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The claims that there are flaws in the science driving the administration's proposals are especially noteworthy coming from scientists and industry members who were appointed to the EPA's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) by the president himself, per the Post.

  • “It really calls the question to what degree these suggested changes are fact-based as opposed to politically motivated,” said Steven Hamburg, a former SAB member and current chief scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, told the Post.

What they're saying: The SAB said the agency's plan to reverse a rule limiting pesticide applications in wetlands "neglects established science," per the Post.

  • The board also said the EPA's plan to reduce average gas mileage targets for cars and trucks are "implausible."
  • EPA spokeswoman Corry Schiermeyer told the Post that the agency “always appreciates and respects the work and advice” of the board but said reviews “may potentially be revised” before being finalized.

The big picture: The Trump administration has rolled back 58 environmental rules as of Dec. 21, per the New York Times, including:

  • Lowering regulation requirements of industrial polluters via the Clean Air Act.
  • Loosening offshore drilling safety regulations implemented after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
  • Altering applications of the Endangered Species Act, "making it more difficult to protect wildlife from long-term threats posed by climate change."
  • Rejecting a proposed pesticide ban on chlorpyrifos, which is "linked to developmental disabilities in children," per the Times.

Go deeper: EPA failed to follow rules for science panels overhaul, watchdog finds

Go deeper

Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

The state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday in an attempt to block the enforcement of its vaccine mandate for federal employees.

Why it matters: The move comes one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's (R) request to exempt the state's National Guard from the mandate.

Congress passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate voted 69-28 to pass legislation Thursday night to fund the government until February 18.

Why it matters: The move staves off a government shutdown but lawmakers still have a busy month ahead: Congress needs to work out a deal to raise the debt ceiling in a few weeks and Democrats are trying to pass their behemoth social spending bill.

DiDi to delist from NYSE under Chinese govt pressure

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Chinese ride-hail giant DiDi said it will delist from the New York Stock Exchange, following a Chinese government crackdown on foreign listings.

Why it matters: This reflects how geopolitical tensions are bleeding into the capital markets.