EPA head Scott Pruitt has dismissed half of the scientists who had a crucial role in what the EPA does when dealing with air and water quality and decision making. The advisory board that oversees the EPA has a total of 18 positions, and 9 of those positions were held by scientists who were told they would not be reappointed to the board.
Today, I was Trumped. I have had the pleasure of serving on the EPA Board of Scientific Counselors, and my appointment was terminated today.
— Robert Richardson (@ecotrope) May 5, 2017
“What’s the scientific reason for removing these individuals from this EPA science review board? It is rare to see such a large-scale dismissal even in a presidential transition,” said Gretchen Goldman, research director at the Center for Science and Democracy. She goes on to say, “The EPA is treating this scientific advisory board like its members are political appointees when these committees are not political positions. The individuals on these boards are appointed based on scientific expertise, not politics. This move by the EPA is inserting politics into science.”
The EPA claims that these are not dismissals, but simply the end of these scientists’ term on the board, even though scientists who serve on the advisory board for the EPA and other federal agencies are typically allowed to serve two full terms. They also said they are interested in scientists with more diverse backgrounds.
Pruitt has been criticized by many for his ties with the energy industry, which leaves many environmentalists worried about his neutrality in making decisions for the EPA.