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Policy

U.S. senators seek conflict-of-interest data on new EPA science advisers

by Cheryl Hogue
January 15, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 3

Two Senate Democrats are asking for conflict-of-interest information on newly appointed members to EPA science advisory boards. In October, agency Administrator Scott Pruitt created vacancies on panels of outside experts who advise EPA on scientific matters when he barred agency grant recipients from serving on the boards. He then added more representatives from industry to the groups. “We are concerned that some of the newly-appointed members of these nonpartisan scientific advisory committees and boards may have financial and ethical conflicts of interests,” say Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Del.), the top Democrat on the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) in a Jan. 9 letter to Pruitt. They say they are concerned that Pruitt’s move has led to panels “that are not balanced in viewpoints” and to the appointment of “committee members who may be either not qualified or not impartial.” The lawmakers want Pruitt to explain how EPA addressed the new members’ potential conflicts of interest or lack of scientific expertise or credentials—issues that were raised in public comments.

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