The days of environmental wackiness, Left-wing activism, and fake science at the EPA are over in the Age of Trump, as the new boss is working hard to make the agency great again.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who — as a former state attorney general for Oklahoma — regularly sued the agency he now leads, is using a Trump administration rule governing the use of federal grant money to get rid of dozens of professors and “researchers” who have long misused agency funds.
As reported by the Washington Times, Pruitt has removed dozens from EPA panels because, in a great many cases, their research work had little-to-nothing to do with the agency or its core mission: Protecting the environment. Also, he is severing ties with many who have been taking money as researchers while at the same time sitting on boards that recommend policies to the agency.
“I found out about it right when the press release came out,” said Charles Werth, a University of Texas professor who was not retained for a second three-year term on the Scientific Advisory Board after Pruitt announced the policy change Oct. 31.
But Werth said he had an idea he would not be retained anyway because his use of federal grant money to study drinking water treatment; Pruitt said anyone taking agency money also could not be advising the agency (that’s a conflict of interest).
In fact, one of Pruitt’s primary objectives is eliminating what he sees as several instances of conflicts, mostly among members of various committees advising the agency who are also getting federal grant money to “study” certain things that may or may not have anything to do with EPA’s core mission.
As the Times reported, the committees “review agency-produced science and act as something of a top-level peer-review system before the federal government proposes new regulations, adjusts existing ones, or scraps rules.”
“Whatever science comes out of EPA shouldn’t be political science,” the administrator said last month. “From this day forward, EPA advisory committee members will be financially independent from the agency.” (Related: Scott Pruitt may be just the person freedom lovers need at EPA.)
That they haven’t been already should outrage taxpayers. But it also helps explain why so many rules that came out of the Obama administration were so closely aligned with the president’s Left-wing, government-centric environmental policies: He was implementing “research” that just happened to match his policy goals, research that wasn’t science-based but politics-based, as Pruitt said.
Critics of Pruitt and his policy claim that no one should assume that researchers sitting on advisory panels who also received federal grant dollars tainted their results to match the political objectives of the previous administration. But they would say that — wouldn’t they?
They also contend they have the most knowledge on the subjects at hand and that the EPA is not bound by policy to utilize and implement the research they provide. But that begs the question: Then what good are the panels?
“I don’t think it makes sense to exclude the people who know the most about what the EPA is doing,” Robyn Wilson, a professor of risk analysis and decision science at Ohio State University, told the Times.
“What the EPA decides to do has no bearing on what I do as a researcher. There’s no gravy train where the EPA is providing lavish vacations for scientists. It’s funny to me they’re willing to make this tradeoff, excluding people with legitimate expertise.”
It’s not vacations that worry Pruitt or taxpayers, it’s money being spent for politically motivated “science.”
How do we know? Because Obama’s EPA always implemented policies that matched his environmental agenda of “global warming” and “climate change.”
Besides, supporters of Pruitt know that the conflict of interest is real.
“When science advisers are receiving millions of dollars from the very agency they are influencing, serious concerns are raised about the independence of those scientists and call into question the integrity of the process as a whole,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican.
One other thing Pruitt has done is bring true diversity to the panels. Now they include regulators and representatives from energy companies like Phillip 66, as well as members of green organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund, the Times reported.
Read more of J.D. Heyes’ work at The National Sentinel.