Two EPA science board members resign in protest

Two EPA science board members resign in protest
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Two members of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) science panel resigned Friday in protest after the agency dismissed other scientists from the board earlier this month.

Carlos Martin and Peter Meyer said in a Friday letter that they would leave the Board of Scientific Counselors’ (BOSC) Sustainable and Healthy Communities subcommittee. In a letter Martin posted on Twitter, the scientists said their resignation stems from the EPA’s decision not to renew two other scientists’ positions within BOSC. 

“The effective removal of our subcommittee’s co-chairs suggests that our collective knowledge is not valued by the current EPA administrators,” Martin and Meyer wrote. 

“Like so many of our colleagues and the broader research community, we have deep concerns about the leadership at EPA and its continued obfuscation of scientific evidence and the research enterprise.”

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EPA leadership said last week that it would not renew the positions for at least five academic members of one of its scientific review boards and instead consider replacing them with representatives from industries who are subject to the agency’s regulations. 

Martin told CNN on Friday that he is worried the new members will not reflect his position on issues like climate change. 

“I can't be part of what I see is likely to happen in the future,” he said. “I can't be a prop to bad science."

An EPA spokesperson said the agency receives “hundreds” of nominations for positions on its science advisory boards, and that the dismissed members are able to reapply. 

“EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors serve three-year terms and are reviewed every three years,” the spokesperson said. 

“Because advisory panels like BOSC play a critical role reviewing the agency’s work, EPA will consider the hundreds of nominations through a competitive nomination process.”

Environmentalists, scientists and Democrats have criticized plans to include industry officials on the science boards that inform EPA regulations. 

But Trump administration officials at the agency — and Republicans in Congress — have pushed to expand the voice of regulated industries in EPA scientific discussions.