The US Environmental Protection Agency will begin barring select scientists from serving on independent advisory boards — a move possibly intended to clear the path towards the installation of industry-friendly advisors on the panel in question, according to critics.
The new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ban-list is focused on scientists who have won agency-awarded grants in the past — with the stated reason for the move being to “preserve the independence and diversity of the boards,” as worded by Reuters.
Well, that or the move is intended to keep those with views that are now “outdated” at the EPA from interfering too much with its new direction under Scott Pruitt.
“Whatever science comes out of EPA, (it) shouldn’t be political science,” stated EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, before then noting that committee members will be “financially independent” from the agency.
Which makes for a nice bit of doublespeak there, as future committee members will no doubt be getting their money from somewhere… and those somewheres will no doubt expect something in return for the financial relationships and/or support.
As argued by Senator Tom Carper, of the Senate environment committee, Pruitt’s decision amounts to an attempt to “delegitimize the work of nonpartisan scientists.” And that “this crusade endangers the health of every American, and it cannot be tolerated.”
Reuters provides more: “Pruitt signaled the move during a speech last week at the conservative Heritage Foundation, when he questioned the independence of scientists who have won past EPA research grants, and promised to ‘fix’ the situation.”
“…The advisory boards were created by Congress to serve as a check on EPA policies and research. They include the EPA Scientific Advisory Board, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, and the Board of Scientific Counselors. Last year, the SAB questioned an EPA report that concluded that hydraulic fracturing — an oil and gas drilling technology that frees petroleum from underground shale formations — had no ‘widespread impacts’ on drinking water despite evidence of problems in several states.”
“In June, Pruitt decided not to renew the terms of nine members of a separate body, the 18-member Board of Scientific Counselors. One of those members, Michigan State University professor of community sustainability Robert Richardson, told Reuters the move came as a surprise because the work they were doing was ‘apolitical’.”
For those unfamiliar with the man’s politics — Pruitt claims to doubt the existence of anthropogenic climate change, though his comments over the past few years have been all over the place so who knows what exactly his talking points on the matter would be if you were to ask him today.
Pruitt has stated in recent days that he wants to “set up a televised debate about the science of climate change between scientists who believe it is driven by humans and those that do not,” as reported by Reuters. I suppose that the idea is that the truth can be determined by seeing which group of humans comes across as the most convincing to a mass of the otherwise occupied who are looking for spectacle, and looking out for their self-interest and comfort… which would possibly make Pruitt a student of history at least. 🙂