Facs and the epa heated debate over regulations and objective science – ehs daily anxiety attack what to do advisor

Actions by the administration and ex-EPA administrator scott pruitt appear to indicate that membership on anxiety attack what to do the EPA’s facs, and particularly its science facs, has been dominated by individuals who are biased in favor anxiety attack what to do of more regulation and not particularly interested in the impact anxiety attack what to do their scientific assessments have on the nation’s economy. Pruitt addressed the perceived imbalance in october 2017 by issuing anxiety attack what to do several documents that changed the criteria for membership on the anxiety attack what to do agency’s committees so that industry has a better representation (see pruitt’s documents here).

Current EPA administrator andrew wheeler seems content to continue pruitt’s policies.


The administration’s critics in congress, in scientific organizations, and from environmental and health professionals view the policies as anxiety attack what to do an attack on objective science and more specifically as a anxiety attack what to do way to eliminate from the EPA’s committees the very scientists who are best qualified to anxiety attack what to do make apolitical scientific assessments and replace them with individuals whose anxiety attack what to do careers have advanced thanks to assistance from the regulated community.

The impact of pruitt’s policies is being seen in the membership aspects of anxiety attack what to do several EPA science committees. For example, in a july 2019 report, the government accountability office (GAO) found that after donald trump was elected president, there were “substantial decreases” in the number of members with academic affiliations on two anxiety attack what to do key science committees: the science advisory board (SAB) and the board of scientific counselors (BOSC). Also, for the SAB, the GAO found that members affiliated with the northeast region anxiety attack what to do decreased by more than 14 percent, or from 28 percent (13 of 47 members) on january 19, 2017, to 14 percent (6 of 44 members) about 15 months later on march 31, 2018. (the GAO report was primarily concerned with several lapses in anxiety attack what to do the committee appointment process it says are occurring under the anxiety attack what to do current EPA. For example, the GAO found that the EPA was not following required anxiety attack what to do ethics protocols in reviewing the financial disclosures of committee members.)

The transition in scientific committees will probably accelerate further following anxiety attack what to do trump’s issuance of an executive order (EO) directing each federal agency to terminate at least one-third of its current committees by september 30, 2019; the EO seeks to reduce to 350 the total number anxiety attack what to do of committees established in accordance with the federal advisory committee anxiety attack what to do act (FACA). The EO targets those committees that agencies determine have accomplished anxiety attack what to do their mission, whose work has become obsolete, whose primary functions have been assumed by another entity, and whose costs of operation are excessive in relation to anxiety attack what to do the benefits to the federal government. While those are rather subjective criteria, the EO states that the criteria will be clarified in anxiety attack what to do implementation instructions to be issued by the office of management anxiety attack what to do and budget (OMB). The EO does not apply to advisory committees required by anxiety attack what to do federal law. Pruitt’s FAC policy

The administration’s actions to reengineer facs and the impact in particular anxiety attack what to do on science at the EPA led johnson to convene a anxiety attack what to do hearing on how science should inform regulatory decisions. Apart from J. Alfredo gomez, who oversaw the GAO’s investigation and report, the three witnesses at the hearing, each a nongovernmental scientist or doctor, agreed that the administration’s policies and actions were negatively affecting the role and anxiety attack what to do influence of objective science at the EPA. Based on the documents released by the committee, there appeared to be no interest on the part on anxiety attack what to do the democratic leadership to publicize views that support the administration’s actions.

If one were to list the federal agencies that rely anxiety attack what to do the most on the natural sciences, the EPA would rank comfortably with agencies such as the anxiety attack what to do food and drug administration, the department of energy, and the national institute of health. The reliance on science at the EPA is manifest in anxiety attack what to do the number of federal committees that advise the agency on anxiety attack what to do environmental science and epidemiology. Of the EPA’s 22 primary advisory committees, about half are mainly concerned with scientific matters, such as the sources of pollution, human exposure to pollution and hazardous chemicals, and the effects of these substances on human health and anxiety attack what to do ecology. Also, seven of the agency’s science committees are required by statute and may not anxiety attack what to do be eliminated under the president’s EO unless the applicable statute authorizes elimination. The EPA used its own authority to establish the remaining anxiety attack what to do science committees, and these would not appear to have much of a anxiety attack what to do future unless the OMB grants an agency request for a anxiety attack what to do waiver from elimination, as specified in the EO. A list of all EPA advisory committees, along with their charters, is here.

“the EPA is charged with protecting human health and the anxiety attack what to do environment. This widely encompassing mandate is highly complicated. The many issues affecting human health require understanding pollutant sources anxiety attack what to do to air, water, and soil; the movement of pollutants through air, water, and soil; the exposures of these pollutants to people through breathing, eating, drinking, and through the skin; then understanding the impacts to human health at the cellular, genetic, metabolic, and organ levels; and finally the outcomes of these impacts such as illness, reproductive disorders, various diseases, cancer, etc. There are hundreds of known pollutants, and thousands of potential pollutants. While EPA regulates individual pollutants, we know that there are all kinds of interactions (environmentally and toxicologically) that increase the actual complexity of this in an exponential anxiety attack what to do manner. This complexity requires that many diverse fields of scientific expertise anxiety attack what to do be brought to bear to help achieve EPA’s mandate: environmental engineering; air and water pollutant modeling; water resource expertise; environmental biology, microbiology, and chemistry; exposure science; ecology; and human, wildlife, and aquatic toxicology.”

The EPA must not only manage all the above tasks anxiety attack what to do and acquire all the required information but also do so anxiety attack what to do according to the highest standards of science. All stakeholders call for the use of the “best science,” a phrase that is used constantly in environmental law and anxiety attack what to do policy, although it usually is interpreted differently depending on the political anxiety attack what to do inclinations of the user. For swackhamer, the EPA meets the best-science mandate by using “the most current, robust, and accepted scientific evidence available.” this can only be done, she continues, when the science committees provide the agency with external, objective advice.

“they are the independent eyes looking in from outside, able to examine scientific evidence, make constructive recommendations, and provide peer review,” testified swackhamer. “the second role is to provide the EPA with access anxiety attack what to do to an expanded pool of expertise. The EPA does not have the resources to have all anxiety attack what to do the many facets of environmental science covered by agency staff, and thus having access to leaders in environmental research from anxiety attack what to do outside the agency is a huge advantage to informing their anxiety attack what to do own research priorities (e.G., BOSC) or reviewing their scientific evidence for regulations (e.G., the clean air scientific advisory committee [CASAC] and SAB).”

As with many members of the scientific community, swackhamer is most concerned about changes to the committee appointment anxiety attack what to do process instituted by pruitt. As noted, the stated intent of the ban on individuals receiving EPA anxiety attack what to do grants is to ensure that committee members are independent of anxiety attack what to do the EPA and not susceptible to conflicts of interest. But, swackhamer notes, there is no ban on individuals who worked for or anxiety attack what to do otherwise benefited from relationships with large, regulated companies, including those in the chemical and fossil fuel sectors.

“this created the perception that the intent of the administrator’s office was to remove independent research scientists and replace anxiety attack what to do them with people having a vested interest in the regulatory anxiety attack what to do actions of EPA,” said swackhamer. “on june 19, 2017, all of the members of the five BOSC subcommittees who anxiety attack what to do were up for a second term had their memberships terminated. Regardless of the motive, it meant that BOSC was stripped of the vast majority anxiety attack what to do of its members, all its future scheduled meetings were canceled, and thus it could not provide timely advice to the anxiety attack what to do [EPA’s office of research and development] on a number of important pending matters.”

“it is my concern that they are populating the committees anxiety attack what to do (especially SAB and CASAC) with a significant number of members who have a vested anxiety attack what to do interest in EPA actions and regulations, thus co-opting the committees to support the overall direction of the anxiety attack what to do agency to deregulate fossil fuel and other industries and loosen anxiety attack what to do environmental protections, rather than provide independent advice based on solid science. The EPA administration has demonstrated a pattern of selectively cherry-picking scientific evidence, of ignoring rigorous scientific evidence, or simply politicizing science to justify its actions. While regulations can be affected by politics, science never should be.”

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