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EPA Scientific Advisers Dismissed to Make 'Clean Break' From Obama

Image: EPA Scientific Advisers Dismissed to Make 'Clean Break' From Obama

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt holds up a miner's helmet that he was given after speaking with coal miners at the Harvey Mine on April 13, 2017 in Sycamore, Pennsylvania. (Justin Merriman/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 09 May 2017 05:20 AM

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has dismissed several scientific advisers in what’s being called "a clean break" from the Obama administration.

Pruitt dismissed nine of the 18 members on the Board of Scientific Counselors – a key component to the EPA’s research, according to the New York Daily News.

"We’re not going to rubber-stamp the last administration’s appointees," EPA spokesman J.P. Freire told The Washington Post. "Instead, they should participate in the same open competitive process as the rest of the applicant pool. This approach is what was always intended for the Board, and we’re making a clean break with the last administration’s approach."

This comes after the advisers had been told that their jobs were safe, the New York Daily News noted.

The advisers are typically appointed for three-year terms, which are usually renewed even when a new administration enters the White House.

Robert Richardson, a professor at Michigan State University and also one of the scientific advisers who was terminated, said the news came as a shock to him.

"I was kind of shocked to receive this news," Richardson told The Washington Post.

"I’ve never heard of any circumstance where someone didn’t serve two consecutive terms," Richardson added.

Opponents of the dismissals believe this move by Pruitt was done to get "science out of the way" and to focus more on business interests, according to The New York Times.

"This is completely part of a multifaceted effort to get science out of the way of a deregulation agenda," said Ken Kimmell, the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "What seems to be premature removals of members of this Board of Science Counselors when the board has come out in favor of the EPA strengthening its climate science, plus the severe cuts to research and development – you have to see all these things as interconnected."

"Most of us on the council are academic people," said Ponisseril Somasundaran, a chemist at Columbia University. "I think they want to bring in business and industry people."

Prior to leading the EPA, Pruitt sued the agency 14 times and made it clear that he had plans to "shrink" the agency as its new leader.

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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has dismissed several scientific advisers in what's being called "a clean break" from the Obama administration.
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2017-20-09
Tuesday, 09 May 2017 05:20 AM
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