EPA Scientific Advisory Board Members Dismissed

Silencing Science Tracker

EPA Scientific Advisory Board Members Dismissed

On May 5, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dismissed twelve members of its scientific advisory board (SAB). Many of the dismissed members are academic scientists. A spokesperson for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt indicated that he would consider replacing the academics with representatives from industry as “[t]he administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community.”

Update: On April 11, 2018, it was reported that at least two members appointed to the SAB by Administrator Pruitt have received industry funding for research that contradicts “mainstream science” on the health effects of air pollution.

On January 31, 2018, EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler appointed eight new members to the SAB. One of the new appointees — Dr. John Christy — is a professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville who has long questioned established climate science. Following announcement of his appointment, Dr. Christy said he would use his position on the SAB to challenge the findings of climate models, which he has long asserted do not accurately reflect climate variability. Dr. Christy also suggested that he would challenge scientific studies demonstrating that greenhouse gas emissions are the primary cause of climate change, stating that there is “tremendous uncertaint[y] . . . on this issue” and that “[t]he overconfidence we have on the climate issue in the climate community is incredibly large and we need to pull back on that.” He went on to question the appropriateness of regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions, claiming that the endangerment finding (which provides the basis for such regulations) “doesn’t stand on the best science that we have out there.”


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