Senators Press Fight with EPA’s Pruitt Over Advisory Boards

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt’s latest battle with Democratic Senators concerns his decision to no longer use scientists who receive EPA grants from also sitting on advisory boards to the Agency.

Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse led 9 other Senators in asking the Government Accountability Office to expand its investigation of Pruitt.

Whitehouse called it “Pruitt’s efforts to silence leading independent scientists from participating on key advisory boards.”

“While EPA is taking steps to ‘eliminate many of those most qualified to give advice,’ it appears to be making it easier for industry-funded scientists to serve on FACs,” the Senators write.  “Under this new policy, EPA will be replacing representatives of public and private universities including Harvard, Stanford, Ohio State University, and the University of Southern California with scientists who work for Philips 66, Total, Southern Company, and the American Chemistry Council.

Pruitt, the former Oklahoma Attorney General called it a “conflict of interest” for the scientists to receive funding from the EPA and also advise it.

To which the Senators call a “double standard” claiming the rule favors polluting industries over academic researchers.

Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Al Franken (D-MN) joined Whitehouse in writing to the watchdog, the Government Accountability Office (GAO).