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EPA dismisses key science advisors appointed by Trump administration

Michael Regan, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), wears a protective mask while being sworn in during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, March 17, 2021.

Ken Cedeno | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan said Wednesday he will dismiss members of two key science advisory committees picked by former President Donald Trump, a move he said will help restore scientific integrity and trust in the agency.

The decision will oust researchers with The Science Advisory Board and the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee whose work helped advance the Trump administration’s rollback of environmental regulations in favor of fossil fuel producers.

The move is also part of the Biden administration’s broader effort to restore morale and scientific integrity at the EPA after Trump, who dismissed the scientific consensus that humans are causing climate change and sought to make the agency more favorable to deregulation.

For instance, the agency recently re-established a webpage dedicated to climate change that Trump deleted four years ago.

And in a memo to staff last week, Regan said the EPA is reviewing years of environmental policies and decisions by the Trump administration to see where scientific data might have been purposefully manipulated or suppressed.

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“Resetting these two scientific advisory committees will ensure the agency receives the best possible scientific insight to support our work to protect human health and the environment,” Regan said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Today we return to a time-tested, fair, and transparent process for soliciting membership to these critically important advisory bodies,” he added.

Many EPA experts left the agency under the Trump administration, which rolled back more than 100 environmental rules in four years.

Regan has said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility for those workers to return to the agency. The agency is now seeking new applications for the two panels.

The EPA plays a critical role in Biden’s agenda to decarbonize the electricity sector by 2035 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

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