The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday announced the new members of its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) after previously firing the board members who had been appointed during the Trump administration.
EPA Administrator Michael ReganMichael ReganOvernight Energy & Environment — Biden officials announce clean energy plans EPA to assess health impacts of leaded aircraft fuel Biden administration calls on agencies to better guard against political influence on science MORE selected the 47 members of the board, six of whom belonged to the board when he disbanded it in March, the EPA said.
The agency touted the new SAB members as the most diverse since the committee was established, saying that it’s comprised of 22 women and 25 men and includes 16 people of color.
“This highly qualified, diverse group of experts will ensure that EPA is receiving sound science-based advice to inform our work to protect people and the environment from pollution,” Regan said in a statement.
“We worked expeditiously and deliberately to finalize the new Science Advisory Board, and now we can move forward knowing EPA’s work is guided by the most credible, independent expertise,” he added.
The Scientific Advisory Board provides scientific advice to the administrator, including reviewing the quality and relevance of the information being used to propose regulations and reviewing agency programs.
The board will now be chaired by Alison Cullen, an environmental policy professor at the University of Washington.
In March, the Biden administration said it would replace the membership of both the SAB and the Clean Air Science Advisory Committee (CASAC) to reorient the committees toward a more “balanced” group of experts.
The Trump administration had put some controversial members on these boards, including those with industry ties.
It also put in place other directives such as preventing scientists who had received agency research grants from being part of the committee, which the Biden administration said was unnecessarily restrictive.
Critics of the EPA’s decision to remove the Trump appointees, meanwhile, described it as an apparent political purge.
The EPA also announced its seven newly selected CASAC members — two of whom had served on the panel prior to the removals — in June.