Issue Date: July 20, 2015
Quality Scientific Expertise
“Congress Targets EPA Science Advice” provides a useful summary of the contentious relationship between Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency over how the agency solicits and uses independent scientific advice (C&EN, June 8, page 23).
But the article errs in stating that “the bills would require EPA to ignore scientific qualifications in recruiting [Science Advisory Board] panelists from state, local, or tribal governments.” The bills do mandate that 10% of SAB panelists be drawn from these organizations. This mandate is similar, however, to the provision in the 1977 Clean Air Act Amendment that requires one in seven of the appointments to EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) be from a state or local air quality organization.
As a former chair of CASAC, I found these individuals had scientific expertise equal to that of other appointees and brought a useful perspective to CASAC discussions based on their state and local experience.
Roger O. McClellan
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