The acting chief of EPA has scrapped two panels of outside scientists that reviewed national air quality standards for particulate matter and for ground-level ozone. Both substances cause lung problems, and particulate matter has also been linked to heart attacks. The two panels, which consisted of experts on the specific pollutants, for decades reported to the agency’s congressionally created Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). Now, CASAC will review the air quality standards on its own, Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced earlier this month. Wheeler and his predecessor, Scott Pruitt, who resigned in July, significantly changed the makeup of the seven-member CASAC. In the past, CASAC was heavy with academics who study air pollution and its effects. It now consists of a single academic researcher, regulators from three conservative states, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers scientist, and a business consultant who chairs the board. Wheeler is continuing a policy Pruitt instated last year that bans any researcher who receives EPA grant money from serving on CASAC or other advisory groups. Nixing the ozone and particulate matter panels cuts EPA off from vital expertise, says the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Gretchen Goldman.