The Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump administration to shrink the agency's regulatory reach by reducing the role of academic research.A spokesman for the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, said he would consider replacing the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate, as part of the wide net it plans to cast.
May 2, 201705:40
Let's back up for a minute to provide some context. The EPA has plenty of scientists who conduct research and publish their findings. The agency also has an 18-member Board of Scientific Counselors, made up of scholars, which offers guidance on the quality the EPA scientists' research.As the Times' report added, "Those studies are used by government regulators to draft rules and restrictions on everything from hazardous waste dumped in water to the emissions of carbon dioxide that contribute to climate change."Scott Pruitt, who's made no secret of his opposition to the agency he now leads and its environmental mission, apparently has no use for these academicians' guidance. He's instead prepared to reach out to representatives of corporate polluters -- industries the EPA is ostensibly supposed to be regulating -- to serve on the Board of Scientific Counselors.What could possibly go wrong?The American mainstream may not have been thinking about the impact on the EPA when they voted last November, but the fact remains that it's going to take a long time to repair the agency after Trump and his team are done with it.