Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has signed a new directive that prevents scientists that are receiving grants from the EPA from serving on the agency’s advisory committees. Pruitt says that this unprecedented move is to remove what he perceives to be a potential bias from the committees, stating that the members of three key EPA boards — the Science Advisory Board, Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, and Board of Scientific Counselors — have received an estimated $77 million in agency funding. The move was quickly criticized by scientists and environmentalists as one that would bar the country’s most qualified scientists from these committees, and at the same time leave the door open for Pruitt to appoint industry-friendly members to advise the EPA.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has eliminated virtually all references to climate change on its website, according to a report from the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative, published on August 20. Similar removals were made earlier this year to the official pages of the EPA and the White House, in line with the climate-change denial policies espoused by the Trump administration.
News has surfaced that the Environmental Protection Agency is planning on cutting more than 1,200 jobs from the agency by September of this year, keeping in line with President Donald J. Trump’s campaign pledge to dismantle the EPA. This news follows a proposed 31 percent cut to the agency’s budget, and a government-wide hiring freeze affecting potential new employees.
On March 28, President Donald Trump signed a new executive order ordering the rollback of a large number of environmental policies put into place by the Obama administration. Rules regulating emissions for power plants, methane leaks, the moratorium on federal coal leasing, and consumer-level carbon emissions, are part of the de-regulation called for in the order. But despite this setback to addressing the issue of greenhouse gas emissions, a coalition of 75 U.S. mayors have told Trump that they plan to defy his regressive policies.