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gamesindustryblog.com May 26, 2017


EPA reportedly considers filling scientific review seats with business reps

09 May 2017, 08:00 | Leonard Manning

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The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board in a step widely seen as downgrading science and elevating business interests, a media report said. The affected board members' terms expired April 30.

Swackhamer, chairwoman of the Board of Scientific Counselors, confirmed Monday that nine of the 18 outside experts on her panel will not serve a second three-year term. "The E.P.A. routinely stacks this board with friendly scientists who receive millions of dollars in grants from the federal government", Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican and the anti-climate science chairman of the House Science Committee, said during a hearing in February, the Post reports.

EPA spokesman J.P. Freire said the agency wants to consider new nominees, including those who may now work for regulated industries.

An EPA spokesman told CNBC in a statement that the agency received "hundreds of nominations" to serve on the Board of Scientific Counselors.

EPA spokesman JP Freire said the agency will consider new nominees, including those who may now work for chemical and fossil fuel companies. "As the Department concludes its review in the weeks ahead, agencies will notice future meetings to ensure that the Department continues to get the benefit of the views of local communities in all decision-making on public land management". "I see the dismissal of the scientists from the Board of Scientific Counsellors as a test balloon", said Joseph Arvai, an environmental scientist at the University of MI who is on the Scientific Advisory Board. "Instead, they should participate in the same open competitive process as the rest of the applicant pool".

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Since being purchased by the Indian company for roughly $73 million back in 2010, the team has been thrown into near utter chaos. Poor recruitment has only exacerbated the situation for Blackburn , but the club should eventually reach a tipping point.

"We're not going to rubber-stamp the last administration's appointees", Friere told the Washington Post. "This approach is what was always intended for the Board, and we're making a clean break with the last administration's approach".

Two specific panels have been named already: The 47-member Science Advisory Board, which evaluates certain regulations and helps direct research done for the agency, and the Board of Scientific Counselors, an 18-member panel that assesses the diligence of that research.

Ryan Jackson, Pruitt's chief of staff, noted in an email that all the board members whose terms are not being renewed could reapply for their positions.

The agency has also removed some scientific data on climate change from its websites.

Members of the BOSC Executive Committee, subcommittees, and workgroups represent a distinguished body of scientists and engineers who are recognized experts in their respective fields. While the move has outraged some environmentalists, it seems completely in line with Pruitt's longstanding goal of curtailing the EPA's regulatory power from within. "It's important that high-caliber, world-class, well-respected, well-published, objective scientists be appointed", he said, acknowledging there may be value to "enriching the mix of science that advises the EPA".



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