Biden's EPA dismisses dozens of Trump-appointed science advisors

The agency is looking for 'the best possible scientific insight to support our work.'

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The Environmental Protection Agency is dropping dozens of external science advisors appointed under former president Donald Trump. Administrator Michael Regan says the decision to reset two major advisory panels will reduce industry influence on environmental rules and bolster the importance of science within the EPA.

Regan is clearing out more than 40 outside researchers from the Science Advisory Board (SAB) and Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). The EPA is opening up applications for both panels and the advisors who Regan swept out are able to reapply.

“Scientific integrity is one of EPA’s foundational values — and as administrator, I am committed to ensuring that every decision we make meets rigorous scientific standards,” Regan said in a statement. “Resetting these two scientific advisory committees will ensure the agency receives the best possible scientific insight to support our work to protect human health and the environment.”

Until last year, the Trump administration blocked academics who received EPA grants from joining the committees, claiming that they wouldn't be able to provide impartial advice. The administration tended to appoint industry advisors over academic scientists.

Under Trump, the panels often went against scientific consensus to make recommendations that were industry-friendly. For instance, the EPA followed advice from Trump's CASAC appointees to maintain ozone standards that were already in place, even though other scientists said they should be restricted for public health reasons.

In 2019, the agency rolled back regulations on methane emissions, a key contributor to climate change. Trump's EPA was also in a tussle with California and other states over vehicle emissions standards.