If you are concerned about previous actions the Trump administration has taken regarding the protection of our environment, this last move is probably going to increase that concern dramatically. The Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Scott Pruitt, has just chosen to dismiss five of the scientists on their review board and may replace them with representatives from industries that the EPA regulates, according to the New York Times. “The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community,” spokesperson J.P. Freire told The Times.
This is the latest in a series of controversial moves by the agency that has caused a stir among many who see Trump’s team as dangerous for the environment. The EPA removed several pages about climate change from their website and proposed shutting down a regional office that oversees environmental regulations in several states. The president has also signed executive orders that impact the environment including rolling back former President Obama’s climate change policies and increasing offshore drilling.
The move to replace five scientists would significantly change the makeup of the Board of Scientific Counselors which advises the EPA on the rigor and integrity of their research. All five of the academics were at the end of their three-year term, so they were not terminated, just not renewed.
J.P. Freire said, “We’re not going to rubber-stamp the last administration’s appointees. Instead, they should participate in the same open competitive process as the rest of the applicant pool,” Freire said. “This approach is what was always intended for the Board, and we’re making a clean break with the last administration’s approach.”
Robert Richardson, an ecological economist and an associate professor at Michigan State University’s Department of Community Sustainability, said in an interview Sunday, “I was kind of shocked to receive this news.” He had tweeted on Saturday, “Today, I was Trumped.” He continued saying, “I’ve never heard of any circumstance where someone didn’t serve two consecutive terms,” he said, adding that the dismissals gave him “great concern that objective science is being marginalized in this administration.”
What do you think about this move? We are ready for you to fire away with comments!
Credit: The Hill