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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced today that he would be signing a directive barring scientists who have received grant funding from the agency from serving on three of the agency’s scientific advisory bodies.
The move primarily targets conflicts of interest on the Science Advisory Board (SAB), Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), and Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC). Over the past three years, members of these panels have received $77 million in EPA grant funding. In the announcement this afternoon, Pruitt said, “We should be relying on sound science, not political science, and these grants prevented that.” Pruitt also noted that, previously, as many as 6 out of 7 board members of the SAB had received EPA grants.
FreedomWorks Foundation Director of Policy Patrick Hedger, who attended the announcement ceremony, offered the following comments:
“Anyone studying the issue of regulatory reform knows how agencies like the EPA have been able to overwhelm even regulatory watchdogs within government through their ability to fund research that meets their political objectives. Research is supposed to direct regulation, not the other way around. This directive will go a long way towards bringing EPA back with the bounds of its Congressional mandate.
“This is yet another incredibly powerful sign that Administrator Pruitt and the Trump administration are committed to restoring the Executive Branch to its appropriate position within the Constitutional system of checks and balances rather than using the excesses of previous administrations to their own advantage.”