EPA taps green group scientist for ‘integrity’ position

The Environmental Protection Agency has tapped a top staffer with the Union of Concerned Scientists to be the EPA’s next scientific integrity official.

Francesca Grifo, a Ph.D. botanist, is currently a senior scientist at the advocacy group and will arrive at the EPA amid Republican complaints that the agency is failing to adequately provide scientific justification for its various decisions.

ADVERTISEMENT
“Science is, and continues, to be the backbone of this agency and the integrity of our science is central to the identity and credibility of our work,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement. “Dr. Grifo brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to EPA that will help continue our work to implement the agency’s scientific integrity policy.”

Grifo was among the experts who said the George W. Bush administration often cast science by the wayside with its environmental policies and meddled in the work of EPA scientists.

For instance, they took aim at Bush administration efforts to set ozone standards that were weaker than the EPA’s formal panel of science advisers recommended.

More recently, Grifo led an analysis of Obama-era policies that listed the EPA among the agencies with the most scientific integrity.

“Dr. Grifo has been in the vanguard of scientific integrity reform,” said Union of Concerned Scientists Executive Director Kathleen Rest. “This position offers a huge opportunity to help one of our largest science agencies stay ahead of the curve on this issue.”

Grifo’s previous roles include directing the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation’s graduate policy workshop at Columbia University; serving as director of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation and a curator of the Hall of Biodiversity at the American Museum of Natural History in New York; and managing the International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups Program at the National Institutes of Health.