EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Photo: Getty Images

By Timothy Cama
3 November 2017

(The Hill) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overhauled its external advisory boards Friday with new members representing various regulated industries and states, among other entities.

Among the dozens of new members to the Science Advisory Board, Clean Air Safety Advisory Committee and Board of Scientific Counselors are representatives of Phillips 66 Co., Southern Co. and the North Dakota Petroleum Council.

Some of the new advisers have controversial scientific views, including one who believes air quality is too clean for children, while the new members include multiple climate change skeptics.

“To ensure that EPA is receiving the best independent scientific advice, I am appointing highly-qualified experts and scientists to these important committees,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has the authority to appoint and dismiss the advisory board members, said in a statement accompanying the lists.

The advisers have no decision-making authority, but they’re often called upon to interpret and judge scientific research as well as give opinions on regulatory matters and other decisions the agency makes.

The overhauled boards reflect a new policy Pruitt established earlier this week that no scientists receiving EPA grants could be on any of the EPA advisory committees, which he said would reduce conflicts of interest. Instead, Pruitt has pushed to encourage state and local government representatives and people with diverse viewpoints.

Several scientists, Democrats and environmentalists sharply criticized the move, saying it was meant to exclude the most qualified experts in the fields. [more]

EPA names industry, state officials to advisory boards

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