WASHINGTON — Moving onward on a promise to bring back “scientific integrity,” the brand-new head of the Environmental Protection Agency is turning around Trump management activities that sidelined numerous scholastic researchers from crucial boards of advisers for market numbers.
Administrator Michael Regan, in an Associated Press meeting, stated the “reset” of the Science Advisory Board as well as Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee will certainly return EPA to its classic technique of relying upon guidance from a well balanced team of specialists. He is removing both vital panels, although present participants can get reinstatement.
“Scientific integrity is a foundational value for EPA,” Regan said. “And I am committing to ensuring that every single decision we make meets rigorous scientific standards.’’
Restoring public confidence in the EPA is a top goal, Regan said. “And I think to do that, we have to identify and root out any decisions from the past that were not properly aligned with science,” he said.
Regan, who has repeatedly said “science is back,” said that “is very true.” But, he added: “Underpinning that is the importance of scientific integrity and transparency here at the agency. The actions we’re taking are indicative of how serious we are about repairing the scientific integrity at EPA.”
The overhaul announced Wednesday will oust current members of the two science advisory boards, including some whose terms do not expire this year. Members can apply to keep serving, but must compete against other candidates. Regan will make the final selections.
The panels provide scientific expertise and recommendations for air quality standards and other policies intended to protect public health and the environment.
Regan said the EPA will be part of a White House effort to investigate Trump-era political interference in science across the government. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced a task force Monday aimed at identifying past tampering in scientific decisions.
“Science is a big part of our mission, and my expectation is that we will be a part of that exercise,” Regan said, calling the emphasis on scientific integrity a return to past practice rather than a new initiative. “Science was not in question prior to the previous administration. There were some norms, some structures and transparency that we are actually returning back.”
The emphasis on scientific integrity also plays a major role in recruiting new and former employees as EPA attempts to rebuild after losing more than 10% of its workforce under Trump, Regan said.
“The people at EPA joined this agency for a specific reason. They believe in the mission. They believe in public service, and they want to protect public health and the environment,” he said. “And so it’s our job to make sure we have a work environment that promotes science, data, integrity and transparency. We’re going to have to walk that walk — demonstrate we are a worthy place of employment. I believe lots of people are already getting that message.″
On policy issues, Regan pledged to confront climate change, ensure environmental justice at communities near refineries and other hazardous sites and protect public health on issues such as a cluster of “forever chemicals” referred to as PFAS that are progressively showing up in public alcohol consumption water supply, personal wells as well as also food.
A government court’s current choice to leave the Trump management’s substitute of the Obama-age Clean Power Plan offers Regan’s group a “clean slate” to control coal-burning nuclear power plant that add to international warming, he stated.
Regan stated he likewise is open to more stringent air top quality criteria for ozone as well as various other contaminants as well as will certainly examine waivers provided by the Trump management to unwind a host of ecological guidelines throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Critics stated the adjustment enabled a “pandemic of pollution” in the previous year.
“Sometimes, ill-informed decisions that seem to be politically expedient end up not helping any parties,” Regan said, referring to actions by Wheeler and Pruitt, his two immediate predecessors.
Regan rejected criticism by some Republican senators that he will have less power than “unaccountable” White House authorities, such as environment consultant Gina McCarthy, a previous EPA principal, or environment agent John Kerry, a previous legislator as well as assistant of state.
“My work is show that concept incorrect, as well as it’s my intent to do simply that,” he stated, keeping in mind the EPA powers given by Congress.
“We established the program below, based upon the head of state’s vision, as well as we are billed with securing the general public wellness as well as the atmosphere,” he stated.