EPA watchdog to probe scientific integrity

EPA watchdog to probe scientific integrity

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) internal watchdog is auditing how the agency deals with issues of scientific integrity.

In a notice released Friday, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) said it would launch research into how the EPA implements and adheres to its scientific integrity policy.

The audit was launched voluntarily by the office, so it is not connected to a specific request from a lawmaker or complaint.

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But critics of the Trump administration have nonetheless criticized the agency for what they see as attempts to undermine science at the EPA, including downplaying the harms from climate change and air pollution and censoring scientists.

To some degree, the criticisms go both ways. Republicans in Congress have accused career employees at the EPA of improprieties in research that showed that “glider trucks,” trucks with old engines and new bodies, emit far more pollution than newer trucks.

The OIG said its research will focus on at least four areas: any employee concerns with scientific integrity, employee awareness of the policy and reporting requirements, reasons that workers might not report violations of the policy and the adjudication process for alleged violations.