Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt says scientists who are on the advisory board who have receives federal grants to conduct research could be removed from their roles in addition to another regulation placed on the amount of funding that goes to scientists for research. Experts critical of this move say the end result will be more grants for scientists funded by companies that don't have the environment's interest at heart.
During a Heritage Foundation event this week, Pruitt said he believes there is a strong need to have scientific advisors who are “objective, independent-minded, providing transparent recommendations.”
“If we have individuals who are on those boards receiving money from the agency... that to me causes question on the independence and the veracity and the transparency of those recommendations that are coming our way," Pruitt said during the event.
Pruitt has plans to issue a new directive next week to address the issues he believes are within the agency regarding federal funding.
In a statement released by the EPA, Pruitt said he is dedicated to put an end to “sue and settle” practices the agency has faced with lawsuits from environmental groups.
“We will no longer go behind closed doors and use consent decrees and settlement agreements to resolve lawsuits filed against the Agency by special interest groups where doing so would circumvent the regulatory process set forth by Congress.”
Scientists are criticizing Pruitt’s plan to limit financial resources allocated for research including Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. She firmly believes Pruitt’s main objective is to remove scientists doing real research and only provide funding to research that will support and benefit large corporations. And those corporations may not necessarily have the environment in their best interests.
“Pruitt’s purge has a single goal: get rid of scientists who tell us the facts about threats to our environment and health,” Sass said in a statement released by the NRDC. “There’s a reason he won’t apply the same limits to scientists funded by corporate polluters. Now the only scientists on Pruitt’s good list will be those with funding from polluters supporting Trump’s agenda to make America toxic again.”