EPA Barred From Getting Advice From Scientists

A bill passed through the US House of Representatives is designed to prevent qualified, independent scientists from advising the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They will be replaced with industry affiliated choices, who may or may not have relevant scientific expertise, but whose paychecks benefit from telling the EPA what their employers want to hear.

The EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) was established in 1978 to ensure the EPA uses the most up to date and relevant scientific research for its decision making and that the EPA’s programs reflect this advice. It has served in this role, most often uncontroversially, through 36 years and six presidents. If the new bill passes the Senate and wins presidential approval, however, that is about to change.

It’s hard to be against “balance”, which no doubt helped Rep Chris Stewart (R-Utah) gather 229-191 support for his bill H.R. 1422 to overhaul the way appointments to the SAB are made. Of the 51 members of the SAB, three come from the industries the EPA is regulating. Stewart wants more, saying, “All we’re asking is that there be some balance to those experts…We’re losing valuable insight and valuable guidance because we don’t include them in the process.” iflscience.com/environment/epa-barred-getting-advice-scientists

Jim

So currently only 3 of the 51 have knowledge of the industry being regulated!!! This bill is long overdue

More insidiously, research scientists are barred under the act from advising on any topic that might “directly or indirectly involve review and evaluation of their own work”. In other words, the only people barred from advising the EPA on a particular chemical are those who have actually studied its toxicity or effect on the environment.

It doesn’t surprise me that GOP members in the House don’t want to hear from scientists.

Jim

For starters, the image that banners the article is from wikimedia commons, and describes “light pollution” not chemical pollution. Although it appears a chemical compound is being emitted, water vapor. A touch misleading, considering the caption of the image:

"Photo credit: Gavin Schaefer via wikimedia commons. Under a bill that has passed the US House, the people best qualified to say whether a chemical is dangerous will not be allowed to do so "

After reading the text of the bill (congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/1422/text), I could not discover who was being “barred” from participating.

As for the qualifications listed, this portion of the text reads:

(2) Each member of the Board shall be qualified by education,
training, and experience to evaluate scientific and technical
information on matters referred to the Board under this section.

Where in this bill, pray tell, is the EPA being barred from getting advice from scientists?

blog commentary, not a news article

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