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Political Editors / July 18, 2017

Pruitt Is Cleaning Up the EPA

The EPA administrator is purging advisory boards of those who have been receiving grants from the agency.

One of the best decisions Donald Trump has made thus far into his presidency was his choice of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA may prove to be a textbook example of how corruption works to twist an ostensibly apolitical government agency into a primary proponent of a political cause. But Pruitt is taking the bull by the horns.

The Wall Street Journal recently noted that Pruitt has been aggressively working on replacing Barack Obama-era science advisers. In the month of June alone the EPA notified 38 advisers that their committee appointments would not be renewed. While the Left has claimed that Trump is engaged in a “war on science,” the reality is exactly the opposite. A bit of context is needed to better understand the issue at hand.

For years, the EPA has relied heavily on several non-government advisory boards because it is required to hear an advisory board’s advice before enacting new regulations. The EPA is not, however, required to heed a board’s advice. According to the Federal Advisory Committee Act rules, all advisory boards are required to be balanced and unbiased. Historically, the majority of committee members have come from academia, with some coming from consulting and activist groups. Very few members have come from industry.

One of the EPA’s most prominent advisory boards is the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). In 1996, the EPA wanted to pass new restrictive regulations on emissions under the guise that these rules were needed to save the lives of thousands of Americans from dangerous air pollution. The problem was that the CASAC countered the EPA’s opinion, saying that research findings did not support the agency’s conclusion. Ignoring the advice, the EPA went ahead with enacting its costly regulations anyway.

Now here’s where the corruption problem begins to rear its ugly head. Ecofascists, frustrated with the independent nature of these advisory committees, worked to stack the deck in their favor. By the mid 2000s two-thirds of all CASAC members were grantees of the EPA. During Obama’s two terms, the number of grantees increased significantly, with hundreds of millions of dollars in research grants being awarded to these “independent” advisers. As The Wall Street Journal describes it, “In effect, EPA-funded researchers are empowered to review and approve their own work in order to rubber-stamp the EPA’s regulatory agenda. This is all done under the guise of ‘independence.’”

By reforming this practice, Pruitt is not working to quash science. On the contrary, he’s promoting it by dismantling a rigged system.

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