Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, May 9, 2017

Contact:  Margaret Townsend, (971) 717-6409,

Records Sought as EPA, Interior Dismiss Scientists to Accommodate Industry

Public Deserves Explanation of Scientist Removal From Federal Advisory Boards

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity filed public-records requests today seeking emails and other documents that illuminate the Trump administration's sudden dismissal and suspension of scientists on advisory panels at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior.

On Friday both the EPA and Interior Department announced their overhaul of the scientific advisory boards that inform how their agencies assess the science behind government policies. EPA and Interior officials began informing current members that their terms would not be renewed, with notifications continuing over the weekend. 

This is the first step in a broader effort by the Trump administration to replace science-backed policy with corporate and industry-paid advisors.

“The Trump administration's systematic removal of scientists and academics to make way for industry hacks is truly a case of the fox guarding the henhouse to feed corporate greed,” said Meg Townsend, open government attorney at the Center. “These decisions not only present a major conflict of interest, since advisory positions are paid for by taxpayer dollars, but also pave the way for oil companies, pesticide manufacturers and mining giants to write the very regulations that govern their activities.”

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt decided to replace half the members on one of the agency's key scientific review boards, while Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he is “reviewing the charter and charge” of more than 200 advisory boards, committees and other entities both within and outside his department.

“Policies that affect the health of Americans by impacting freshwater and clean air, along with our natural heritage of public lands, must be supported by science, not by paid-for mouthpieces of big business,” said Townsend. “If this continues, extractive activity and pollution by corporations will be completely unchecked. The American people must be able to review and understand these decisions.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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