Pruitt Prepares To Purge The EPA's Scientific Advisory Board


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

clockJun 21 2017, 21:00 UTC

#PollutingPruitt is a frequently recurring hashtag these days. Rena Schild/Shutterstock

Scott Pruitt, as you well know, is the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Considering how anti-environmental and anti-scientific Pruitt is, this is powerfully ironic – and, frankly, self-destructive. It’s like putting Darth Vader in charge of a home for abandoned puppies – no respect to the Dark Lord of the Sith intended, mind you.

Continuing on his streak of trying to screw over his own agency, Pruitt has now made the decision to fire dozens of members of the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC), which will effectively lobotomize the EPA.


All 38 board members whose three-year-long appointments on BOSC expire in August will not be renewed, according to the acting head of the EPA’s Office of Research and Development, Robert Kavlock. In addition, all summer and fall meetings of the board have been cancelled because there will only be 11 people left on it.

BOSC’s primary role is to give technical and scientific advice on research programs related to environmental protection, climate change mitigation, clean air and water protection, and so on. These are all inherently scientific issues with a policy flavor – but Pruitt, who gets to hand-pick the members of BOSC, clearly doesn’t care.

Hilariously, the EPA is encouraging the soon-to-be-ex-members of BOSC to reapply for their own positions in order to ensure that new talent, so to speak, can fight for the posts too. Wouldn’t it be an incredible coincidence if BOSC is soon filled with representatives from the fossil fuel industry?


Sadly, this fits the precedent that Pruitt has set throughout most of his entire career.

Prior to being the head of the EPA, he spent decades helping states to sue it. Since taking over at the agency, he’s overseen staff cuts, funding cuts, multiple resignations and firings, and the systematic de-scientification of its various departments.

Pruitt has also been one of the most vocal opponents of the Paris climate change agreement. During the President’s infamous White House Rose Garden announcement, he could be seen in the front row grinning like a malevolent Cheshire cat while sweating under the unusually hot Sun.

This is probably what the future of the EPA will be like. maradon 333/Shutterstock

His dismantling of the EPA has even got some Republicans worried. Called to the Capitol to defend the proposed budget for the EPA, he was verbally assaulted by both Democrats and Republicans for aiming to drain as much funding from the agency as possible.

“You're going to be the first EPA administrator that has come before this committee in eight years that actually gets more money than they ask for,” GOP Representative Tom Cole said during the hearing.

At this point, it’s not clear why Pruitt isn’t just walking around with a tank of gasoline and personally burning down forests.


[H/T: Science via E&E]

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