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EPA head Scott Pruitt today announced that any scientist receiving EPA grants will no longer be allowed to serve on three EPA science advisory panels.
In the past three years, members of the Science Advisory Board, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, and the Board of Scientific Counselors received about $77 million in direct EPA grants while serving, according to agency calculations. “Strengthening independence from EPA; increasing state, tribal, and local government participation; and adding geographic diversity and fresh perspectives will improve the integrity of EPA’s scientific advisory committees,” Pruitt told reporters, government officials, and policy analysts in attendance.
The issue is a conflict of interest. These same scientists could not fairly advise EPA since they depended on that agency for major funding. The result was that these panels would often recommend the EPA to fund research that these scientists favored and were known to focus on, thus giving them an advantage in obtaining grants. Not surprisingly, this research often pushed the theory of global-warming and anti-industry regulation. This old-boy network for funneling funds to the right people, regardless of its legitimacy, is now hopefully cut off.