Explanation: Personnel Changes

Silencing Science Tracker

Explanation: Personnel Changes

2018-10-11 EPA Science Panel Disbanded EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Other

EPA announced that it was disbanding the particulate matter review panel. The panel has historically provided advice to EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee on the need for changes to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter.

2018-09-27 EPA’s Office of the Science Advisor to be Closed EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Climate, Other

EPA is reportedly planning to close its Office of the Science Advisor. According to its website, the office is responsible for “science policy development and implementation” at EPA, and aims to “ensure that the highest quality science is better integrated into the Agency’s policies and decisions.”

2018-09 EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Omitted from New Organizational Chart EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Climate, Other

EPA issued a new organizational chart which omitted any reference to the Office of Children’s Health Protection (OCHP). The Director of OCHP, Dr. Ruth Etzel, was subsequently placed on administrative leave without explanation. This followed several months of what Dr. Etzel described as “guerrilla warefare,” being waged by top EPA leaders, as part of an effort to “disappear” OCHP.

2018-06-22 North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Budget Cut NC, State Budget Cuts, Personnel Changes Other

The North Carolina legislature rejected a proposal from Governor Roy Cooper to increase funding for the state Department of Environmental Quality to enable it to hire scientists to work on water pollution issues. Instead, the legislature voted to cut the Department’s funding by $1.8 million, which critics say will lead to job losses.

2018-06-20 Three EPA Advisory Committees Disbanded EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Other

EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) announced that it was disbanding three sub-committees — the Ecological Processes and Effects Committee, Environmental Engineering Committee, and Environmental Economics Advisory Committee — “[o]n the recommendation of the SAB Staff Office.”

2018-05 Engineering Positions in Virginia Beach’s Stormwater Division Eliminated Local Govt., State, VA Budget Cuts, Personnel Changes Climate

The Virginia Beach city council announced that it would suspend a storm water fee increase, which was intended to pay for additional staff to work on issues relating to sea level rise. As a result of the suspension, nine staff positions will be left unfilled.

2018-03-29 DOL Advisory Boards Suspended DOL, Federal Personnel Changes Other

One DOL advisory board – the Council on Occupational Safety and Health – has been disbanded and four others have had their operations suspended. As of March 2018, the boards had not met in at least nine months.

2018-03-06 EPA Science Advisory Board Unofficially Suspended EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Climate, Other

As of March 2018, EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) had not met in at least six months, leading to concerns among members that EPA is trying to sideline the board. According to members, ordinarily, the SAB would have multiple interactions (including in-person meetings and teleconferences) during any six month period.

2018-02-27 EPA Research Center to be Eliminated EPA, Federal Budget Cuts, Personnel Changes Other

EPA’s National Center for Environmental Research, which distributes grants for research on the effects of chemical exposure, will be eliminated as part of an agency reorganization involving the merger of three research offices.

2018-02-06 National Science and Technology Council to be Restructured Federal, White House Personnel Changes Climate, Other

The White House announced plans to restructure the interagency National Science and Technology Council, which was established in 1993 to coordinate science policy across the federal government. The restructure will be overseen by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which has requested input from 20 federal agencies.

2018-02 DOI Secretary Accused of Breaching Scientific Integrity Policy DOI, Federal Personnel Changes Climate, Other

Two senior scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey resigned in protest over an alleged breach of the USGS’s scientific integrity policy by the Secretary of the Interior.

2018-01 Unqualified Individuals Appointed to Florida Wildlife Commission FL, State Personnel Changes Other

Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed three individuals with little or no experience in wildlife management to the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

2017-12-31 Trump Administration Fails to Fill Science Positions Federal, White House Personnel Changes Climate, Other

As of December 31, 2017, President Trump had filled fewer government science positions than any other recent President, at the same point in time. Just 20 of the 83 positions designated by the National Academies of Sciences as “science appointees” had been filled.

2017-12-08 Oklahoma Health Department Staff Laid Off OK, State Personnel Changes Other

Following discovery of a $30 billion budget gap, the Oklahoma Department of Health announced that it would lay off 198 staff, and would be unable to fill existing open positions, including several in the epidemiology department.

2017-12-06 Unqualified Individuals Appointed to Missouri Clean Water Commission MO, State Personnel Changes Other

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens appointed three new members to the state’s Clean Water Commission. All three appointees have close ties to industry and appear to lack appropriate qualifications for serving on the Commission.

2017-12-05 Trump Science Nominees Lack Qualifications All, Federal Personnel Changes Climate, Other

Of 43 Trump administration nominees in science-related positions, only 41% had a master’s degree or doctorate in a science field, compared to 58% under President Obama.

2017-12 Fewer Scientists Employed by EPA in 2017 EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Other

Over 200 scientists left EPA in 2017, most of whom have not been replaced. Over the course of 2017, EPA hired just 7 scientists.

2017-12 FDA Food Advisory Committee Disbanded Federal, HHS Personnel Changes Other

The food advisory committee, the only body dedicated to advising the Food and Drug Administration on food-related science policy, was disbanded.

2017-12 OSHA Advisory Committees Suspended DOL, Federal Personnel Changes Other

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration announced plans to re-evaluate the work of its advisory committees.

2017-11-09 Bill Appointing Industry Representatives to Oversee Environmental Decisions Introduced in Michigan MI, State Personnel Changes Climate, Other

A package bills was introduced in the Michigan senate that would, if enacted, establish a new Environmental Rules Review Committee to oversee the state Department of Environmental Quality. The Committee would consist of over half industry representatives and have broad authority to veto rules proposed by the Department.

2017-10-31 EPA-Funded Scientists Barred From Serving on Advisory Committees EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Other

EPA announced that scientists receiving agency grants would not longer be able to serve on its advisory boards.

2017-10-31 Missouri Life Sciences Research Board to be Eliminated MO, State Personnel Changes Other

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens convened a task force to explore ways to shrink the size and scope of the state government. The task force recommended, among other things, eliminating the state Life Sciences Research Board.

2017-10-23 Trump Administration Fails to Appoint Science Advisor Federal, White House Personnel Changes Other

As of October 23, 2017, the Trump administration had taken longer than any other to nominate a science adviser to head the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

2017-10 Unqualified Individual Appointed to North Carolina Oil and Gas Commission NC, State Personnel Changes Climate, Other

The North Carolina legislature appointed Jim Womak to the state’s Oil and Gas Commission. Mr. Womak was appointed to a seat reserved for a “representative of a nongovernmental conservation interest” but has no experience in conservation.

2017-09 EPA Enforcement Agents Reassigned EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Climate

Agents in EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division were reassigned to Administrator Pruitt’s security detail, forcing them to suspend investigation of climate crimes.

2017-08 National Climate Assessment Advisory Committee Disbanded DOC, Federal Personnel Changes Climate

The Trump administration disbanded an advisory committee which assisted state and local officials to use the National Climate Assessment in long-term planning.

2017-07 DOI Scientists Involuntarily Reassigned DOI, Federal Personnel Changes Climate

Approximately 50 DOI employees, including some working on climate-related issues, were involuntarily reassigned to unrelated positions.

2017-07 EPA Adaptation Staff Reassigned EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Climate

EPA reassigned four staffers in the policy office, who had previously worked on climate change adaptation.

2017-07 Non-Scientist Nominated for Top USDA Science Position Federal, USDA Personnel Changes Other

President Trump nominated Sam Clovis, a former radio announcer and economics professor, with no “hard-science” qualifications to the USDA’s top science position.

2017-06-15 DOE Office of International Climate and Technology Closed DOE, Federal Personnel Changes Climate

DOE closed the Office of International Climate and Technology which was formed in 2011 to help the U.S. provide technical advice to other nations seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

2017-06 EPA Climate Change Staff Reassigned EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Climate

EPA reallocated staff from the climate change division and climate protection partnership division to other areas.

2017-05-05 EPA Scientific Advisory Board Members Dismissed EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Other

EPA dismissed at least five academics serving on its scientific review board and indicated that it may replace them with industry representatives.

2017-05 DOI Advisory Boards Suspended or Eliminated DOI, Federal Personnel Changes Climate, Other

DOI froze the work of more than 200 advisory boards, committees, and subcommittees to enable it to review “the charter and charge of each committee.” DOI also allowed the charter of the Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science to expire.

2017-04-10 Forensic Science Committee Disbanded DOJ, Federal Personnel Changes Other

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he would not renew the National Commission on Forensic Science, a 30 member advisory committee established to review forensic science standards.

2017-02-16 Bill to Eliminate State Environmental Quality Board Introduced in Minnesota MN, State Personnel Changes Climate, Other

Bills were introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate that would, if enacted, eliminate the state Environmental Quality Board which is responsible for coordinating work on environmental issues among state agencies.

2017-02-08 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Science Bureau Slated for Closure State, WI Budget Cuts, Personnel Changes Climate, Other

In his budget proposal for 2017-19, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker recommended eliminating the Department of Natural Resources’ central science services bureau, and reassigning its 15 staff to other positions.

2017-02-06 Bill to Close State Environmental Laboratory Introduced in Oklahoma OK, State Personnel Changes Other

A bill was introduced in the Oklahoma Legislature that would, if enacted, require closure of the State Environmental Laboratory. The laboratory is currently responsible for testing the state’s 1,700 public water supply systems.

2017-01 DOE Advisory Board Disbanded DOE, Federal Personnel Changes Climate, Other

The Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, which was a key adviser to past DOE secretaries, was reportedly “sunset.” DOE has no plans to reconstitute the board at this time.

2017-01 Scientist Fired from Black Hawk College ID, State Interference with Education, Personnel Changes Other

Black Hawk College announced it would lay-off several faculty members, including a professor of geology, due to a lack of state funding.

2016-12-06 Names of DOE Climate Change Staff Requested DOE, Federal Personnel Changes Climate

The Trump transition team sent, then disavowed, a survey seeking information about DOE staff who had worked on climate change.

2016-12 Names of USDA Staff Working on Climate Change Requested Federal, USDA Personnel Changes Climate

The Trump transition team requested information about USDA’s Office of Climate Change, including the names of all staff members.

2016-11-16 Bill to Abolish Agricultural Advisory Boards Introduced in Nevada NV, State Personnel Changes Other

A bill was introduced in the Nevada House of Representatives that would, if enacted, abolish the Garlic and Onion Growers Advisory Board, the Alfalfa Seed Advisory Board, and the Advisory Council for Organic Agricultural Products.