WASHINGTON — Two House Republicans are demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency provide records related to a decision by the agency’s new leader to remove dozens of scientists and other experts from two critical.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan has said the advisers appointed under the Trump administration were overly friendly to business and that his March 31 “reset” of the Science Advisory Board and Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee would return EPA to its practice of relying on advice from a balanced group of experts.
Regan’s overhaul removed more than 45 members of the two science advisory boards, including some whose. The panels provide scientific expertise and recommendations for standards and other policies to protect public health and the environment.
But. James Comer of Kentucky and Ralph Norman of criticized Regan for an unwarranted “purge” based more on politics than science. Comer is the senior Republican on the House Oversight Committee, while Norman is the top Republican on the panel’s environment subcommittee.
“Traditionally, science advisory boards are bipartisan panels used to advise the administrator. Unfortunately, it appears theis continuing to purge officials in the government who do not share its political beliefs,” Comer and Norman wrote Wednesday in a letter to Regan.
“The midtermof a new administration …. raises about the politicization of the EPA,” they added.
In an interview late last month, Regan told The Associated Press that while he was clearing out the two essential panels, ousted members could apply for reinstatement.
“Scientific integrity is a foundational value for EPA,″ Regan said. “And I am committing to ensuring that every decision we make meets rigorous scientific standards.”
Democrats have said a 2017 decision byfirst EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, to remove many academic scientists from the advisory panels tilted them favor the chemical and fossil fuel industries. If they had received EPA research grants, Pruitt barred scientists from serving on the advisory boards. Pruitt later resigned amid ethics scandals, but his policies were primarily continued under his successor and former deputy, , ler.
John Graham, the former chairman of the Science Advisory Board, the week that Regan’s “radical action″ disrupted his service and that of every board member. Theprofessor said he would not reapply “because I respectfully protest the entire process that Administrator Regan has concocted.″
Regan, 44, was sworn in on March 11 as the firstto run the EPA. He served as top environmental regulator for four years before that and worked at the EPA during the Clinton and Bush administrations.
He told the AP that the reset of the two advisory boards — and the removal of all members of both boards — “are indicative of how serious we are about repairing the scientific integrity at EPA.″.
REGAN SAID THAT the EPA would also be part of a White House effort tothe executive branch.
In their letter, Comer and Norman asked the EPA to provide by April 21 all documents and communications — including any with the— from January 20 on related to the ouster of the advisory board members.