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NYT: EPA Official Pressured Scientist on Congressional Testimony

Image: NYT: EPA Official Pressured Scientist on Congressional Testimony
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By    |   Tuesday, 27 Jun 2017 10:27 AM

The Environmental Protection Agency's chief of staff pushed the lead scientist on the department's Board of Scientific Counselors to change her congressional testimony about expert dismissals, according to The New York Times.

Dr. Deborah Swackhamer was set to testify before the House Science Committee on May 23, but before she did so Ryan Jackson, chief of staff at the EPA, requested that she use agency "talking points" when speaking about the dismissal of multiple expert advisers on the board.

"I was stunned that he was pushing me to 'correct' something in my testimony," Swackhamer told the Times on Tuesday. "I was factual, and he was not. I felt bullied."

Jackson made multiple requests to Swackhamer in emails sent May 22, including that she say "a decision had not yet been made" about the dismissals, though several members had already been notified.

After her testimony, the EPA has continued to send "dozens" of board members notices that they will not have their terms renewed.

"The Board of Scientific Counselors had 68 members two months ago. It will have 11 come Sept. 1," Swackhamer added. "They've essentially suspended scientific activities by ending these terms. We have no meetings scheduled, no bodies to do the work."

Neither Jackson nor the EPA responded to the Times' request for comment. However, the committee chairman Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, gave the paper a statement.

"Dr. Swackhamer and the Minority have repeatedly stated that she was testifying in her personal capacity and not in connection with her role as chair of the EPA Board of Scientific Counselors," he said.

"However, it is clear that the Minority invited her in an attempt to hijack the stated purpose of the Committee's hearing on states' role in EPA rulemaking and shift the focus to recent EPA. actions involving the" Board of Scientific Counselors.

"Any attempt by EPA. to ensure that what Congress heard in testimony about official EPA. matters included the full breadth of information seems entirely appropriate," Smith added.

"Unfortunately, the Minority has made the choice to waste taxpayer dollars as part of a politically motivated agenda."

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The Environmental Protection Agency's chief of staff pushed the lead scientist on the department's Board of Scientific Counselors to change her congressional testimony about expert dismissals, according to The New York Times.
EPA, officials, pressured, scientists, congressional, testimony
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2017-27-27
Tuesday, 27 Jun 2017 10:27 AM
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