EPA Administrator working on “scientific integrity”

Washington (AP) —Proceeding with a pledge to restore “scientific integrity”, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency puts aside many academic scientists from key advisory boards in favor of industry figures It is reversing the actions of the Trump administration.

Administrator Michael ReganIn an Associated Press interview, the “reset” of the Scientific Advisory Board and the Clean Air Act Science Advisory Board said it would revert the EPA to the old-fashioned practice of relying on advice from a balanced group of experts. The current member can apply for reinstatement, but he has cleared two important panels.

“Scientific integrity is the fundamental value of EPA,” Regan said. “And I promise to ensure that all the decisions we make meet strict scientific standards.”

According to Regan, the primary goal is to restore public confidence in the EPA. “And I think in order to do that, we must identify and eradicate decisions from the past that did not fit science properly,” he said.

“Science is back,” Reagan said, “very true,” he added. How serious we are about restoring scientific integrity at the EPA. “

44-year-old Regan was the top environmental regulator in North Carolina for four years. At the EPA, he is helping to address climate change and lead President Joe Biden’s efforts to advocate environmental justice. Regan was the first black man to carry out an EPA.

The overhaul announced Wednesday will expel current members of the two scientific advisory boards, including those that will not expire this year. Members can apply to continue their service, but must compete with other candidates. Regan makes the final choice.

The panel provides scientific expertise and recommendations on air quality standards and other policies aimed at protecting public health and the environment.

Democrats said Donald Trump’s first EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, decided to remove scientists from the advisory board, leaning the committee in favor of the chemical and fossil fuel industries. Pruitt has banned scientists from joining the advisory board if they have received an EPA research grant. Pluit later resigned in an ethical scandal, but his policies continued largely under his successor and former adjutant Andrew Wheeler.

Reagan said the EPA will be part of the White House’s efforts to investigate political interference during the Trump era in government-wide science. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released a task force on Monday aimed at identifying past tampering in scientific decisions.

“Science is a big part of our mission and we look forward to becoming part of that exercise,” said Reagan, who emphasized scientific integrity as a past practice rather than a new initiative. I called for a return to. “Before the previous administration, science wasn’t a problem. There were some norms, some structures and transparency that we were actually returning to.”

The emphasis on scientific integrity also plays a major role in hiring new and former employees, as the EPA is trying to rebuild after losing more than 10% of its workforce under Trump, Reagan said. I am.

“People at the EPA have joined the agency for specific reasons. They believe in their mission. They believe in public services and want to protect public health and the environment,” he said. It was. “So it’s our job to ensure a work environment that promotes science, data, integrity and transparency. We’ll have to take that walk — a place we deserve to be hired. Please show that. I think many people have already received the message. “

On policy issues, Regan confronts climate change, secures environmental justice in communities near refineries and other dangerous areas, and is known as the “eternal” PFAS that is increasingly emerging in public drinking water systems. Promised to protect public health with issues such as “chemical” clusters, private wells, and even food.

A recent federal court decision to invalidate the Obama administration’s alternative to the Obama-era clean power plan would give Regan’s team a “clean slate” to regulate coal-fired power plants that contribute to global warming. He said.

Regan also said he has accepted stricter air quality standards for ozone and other pollutants and will appreciate the exemptions provided by the Trump administration to relax many environmental regulations during a coronavirus pandemic. Critics said the change allowed a “contamination pandemic” over the past year.

Reagan referred to the actions of his two predecessors, Wheeler and Pluit, saying, “Sometimes a politically favorable decision of lack of information will not help any party.” Stated.

Regan rejected some Republican senators’ criticisms of being weaker than “irresponsible” White House officials, such as former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and former Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry. ..

“My job is to prove that the theory is wrong, and it is my intention to do so,” he said, noting the EPA’s authority given by Congress.

“We have a responsibility to set the agenda here based on the president’s vision and protect public health and the environment,” he said.

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