Biden purges science adviser panels Trump tilted toward industry

Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Stephen Lee
Bloomberg

The Biden administration is purging members of two of the scientific advisory committees that guide the work of the Environmental Protection Agency, a move designed to shrink the influence of industry on the panels.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan cast the decision as necessary to ensuring scientific integrity at the agency.

More: New EPA chief committed to restoring ‘scientific integrity’

“Resetting these two scientific advisory committees will ensure the agency receives the best possible scientific insight to support our work to protect human health and the environment,” Regan said in an emailed statement. “Today we return to a time-tested, fair and transparent process for soliciting membership to these critically important advisory bodies.”

Environmentalists and public health advocates had urged the EPA take the unusual step after years of Trump administration appointments to the panels, known as the Science Advisory Board and the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee.

Critics said Trump’s appointees were too often tied to the very industries the EPA regulates, creating conflicts of interest and altering the advice those panels gave the agency on everything from air pollution regulations to the carbon footprint of burning wood to generate electricity. A short-lived Trump administration policy also barred experts from serving on the panels if they received grant money – a prohibition seen as limiting the participation of academic scientists.