Stop the EPA from Burying Science Advice

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just announced it will eliminate the EPA's science advisor office and bury its staff deep within the agency. Top EPA scientific staff were excluded from discussions around a proposal to restrict the types of science that could be used in agency decisions. And the EPA recently cut scientists out of a process for reviewing certain air pollution standards.

Taken together, these actions constrain the EPA's ability to use the best available information to protect public health and safety.

Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler pledged that he would be a "different leader" from former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and would "listen to the experts." Yet, these actions continue Pruitt's abandonment of science advice at the expense of the health and safety of our families.

Help us put a spotlight on this issue and hold him accountable to his pledge: Send Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler a message that we are paying attention and know these moves are dangerous and unacceptable.

I am aware of the recent decision to severely diminish the role of the EPA Science Advisor's office, as well as recent actions that call into question the EPA's commitment to air quality. I am also troubled that EPA's top scientists were excluded from providing input into the so-called "transparency" proposal that scientists have overwhelmingly opposed.

These actions make science-based policymaking more difficult and compromise the ability of EPA staff to promote strong scientific standards across the agency. You need direct access to independent science advice both while developing public protections and when reacting to environmental disasters.

When you stepped in as acting administrator of the EPA, I was encouraged by your pledge to be a more responsible leader and listen to agency experts. Now I ask you to take actions that back up your pledge and reverse the decision to dissolve the Science Advisor's office, to ensure science advisors are included in key agency decisions, and to reinstate the Particulate Matter Review Panel and appoint an Ozone Review Panel to provide the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, as well as your agency, with the best-possible scientific understanding.

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