The EPA announced on Wednesday it will remove more than 40 members of scientific advisory panels appointed under the previous administration in an effort to reduce the heavy influence of regulated industries over the regulatory process. The Trump administration barred — illegally, according to critics — experts who received EPA grants from sitting on the agency’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) and Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), in effect elevating industry-backed voices and freezing out independent scientific experts. Trump’s EPA refused to strengthen standards on ozone, which disproportionately harms low-income communities and communities of color, on the advice of Trump-picked members of the CASAC.
The CASAC also split on strengthening limits on industrial soot (also known as PM2.5) pollution despite mounting evidence it increased the risk of dying from COVID-19. An EPA spokesperson said the dismissed Trump-appointed board members were eligible to reapply if they chose to do so. (Washington Post $, E&E $, The Hill, Earther, Washington Examiner, E&E $; Regan interview: AP)