Scientists hand over a “stinging” rebuke to the Trump administration’s rollback of environmental regulations at the end of the year. Hand-picked scientists on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Scientific Advisory Board published a draft letter that said the EPA’s policies run counter to established science.
Three draft reports by the board, which was established in 1978 to review the scientific integrity of EPA policies, criticized the rollback of regulations to protect waterways and wetland, to reduce car and truck emissions and weaken protections against toxic pollution from coal plant smokestacks, along with finding flaws in several of Trump’s other environmental proposals.
“It really calls the question to what degree these suggested changes are fact-based as opposed to politically motivated,” Stephen Hamburg, former chief scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, said.
The EPA released these drafts on New Year’s Eve, which is said to be “cagey and suspicious to environmental activists,” EcoWatch reported.
“The administration delayed releasing those Science Advisory Board reviews for months, and made them public only today—on New Year’s Eve,” Vicky Patton, general counsel at the Environmental Defense Fund, in a statement. “It’s clear that 2019 is ending as it began, with the Trump administration sidelining science and attacking the safeguards that protect American families from pollution.”
The EPA said it “appreciates and respects the work and advice of the” board, CNN reported. And it plans to finalize the commentary and reports after the public meeting before sending to the Administrator.
“The reports they posted are draft and will be discussed at their next meeting,” Corry Schiermeyer, EPA spokeswoman, said to CNN.
But Patton said the proposed rollback of such environmental regulations “block the best science from being used to protect the American people.” And, in conclusion, found “serious scientific flaws” based on established science.
“EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler must immediately withdraw these unlawful proposals that threaten the health and well-being of all Americans,” Patton said.