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Jordan Candler / November 1, 2017

Pruitt Puts an End to EPA Adviser Conflicts of Interest

EPA board members are now barred from collecting agency grants — a policy that should never have been allowed.

There is another significant change happening at the Environmental Protection Agency. Administrator Scott Pruitt on Tuesday abolished a rule through which officials were permitted to serve on EPA boards while at the same time receiving EPA grants. It’s a policy that never should have been allowed in the first place, especially considering how much cash flow was involved.

According to The Daily Signal, “In the past three years, members of the Science Advisory Board, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, and the Board of Scientific Counselors received about $77 million in direct EPA grants while serving, according to agency calculations.” This obviously created, at the least, temptation and, even more likely, corruption.

The new rule stipulates, “Members shall be independent from EPA, which shall include a requirement that no member of an EPA federal advisory committee be currently in receipt of EPA grants.” As Pruitt wisely put it, “Whatever science comes out of EPA shouldn’t be political science. From this day forward, EPA advisory committee members will be financially independent from the agency.” This helps not only to contain conflicts of interests but also injects egalitarianism.

According to The Washington Free Beacon, “Earlier this year the agency broadened its application process, soliciting applications from underrepresented states. … The new pool of appointments, which will be announced in the coming week, will include members from EPA regions 6, 7, and 8. Those regions, which cover Dallas, Kansas City, and Denver, previously did not include a single representative on CASAC [the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee].” Moreover, “Pruitt said current members who are asked to continue their service and have received EPA grants would have to forgo grant funding if they stay on the board.”

Pruitt continues to do laudable work at the EPA. He’s pushing for the elimination of the Clean Power Plan, and he’s stopped another egregious antic — sue and settle. Stated simply: The agency is being turned on its head. No wonder Time magazine just published an inflammatory profile on Pruitt, deriding his involvement with “The Wrecking Crew.” In truth, he’s cleaning up an agency that was wrecked by the Barack Obama administration.

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