H2 Oh No: Trump’s EPA to Sack Dozens of Scientists from Its Advisory Panels

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EPA decontamination unit

The chief of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt has just shown the pink slip to dozens of scientific advisers sitting on the agency’s advisory boards. The researchers will have to look for new jobs elsewhere starting Aug. 20 as their expertise is no longer needed.

EPA Firing Dozens of Scientists

This is just a part of a long series of abrupt firings of EPA experts, as the Trump administration is trying to undo Obama-era regulations that may gut the economy. Pruitt has reportedly canceled scientists’ meetings, fired several committee chairs and committee members, and shut down an advisory board that helps the agency shape its policies.

Deborah Swackhamer who serves as the chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC), which will also be closed, said the firings are telling. She noted that there are only 49 subcommittee members left at the EPA, but of these, 38 won’t have their contracts renewed by the end of summer.

The Trump administration could fill the vacancies with Trump associates, climate change skeptics, and people tied to the oil industry. The new appointments would greatly benefit Trump’s agenda of deregulation and anti-environmental policies.

EPA’s Response

EPA’s spokeswoman Amy Graham said the changes are business as usual. Graham thanked the advisers on the BOSC and encouraged experts whose terms expire this August to reapply. She added that the agency is committed to an inclusive approach that would include experts from all relevant technical and scientific fields.

Board members can submit their applications by June 30. On the other hand, Peter Meyer, who worked for one of the EPA’s committees but resigned because of the agency’s unscientific methods, said he and his colleagues were tricked into believing that they could remain.

He noted that they were told that their assignment would last four to five years, which made them believe that they would be reappointed by default until they complete their tasks. However, if their expertise is no longer required, they are shown the door. This is what happened to dozens of advisers about to lose their jobs now.
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