A top panel of government-appointed scientists, many of them hand-selected by the Trump administration, said on Tuesday that three of President Trump’s most far-reaching and scrutinized proposals to weaken major environmental regulations are at odds with established science.This crew can't even set up a biased jury right.
Draft letters posted online Tuesday by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Scientific Advisory Board, which is responsible for evaluating the scientific integrity of the agency’s regulations, took aim at the Trump administration’s rewrite of an Obama-era regulation of waterways, an Obama-era effort to curb planet-warming vehicle tailpipe emissions and a plan to limit scientific data that can be used to draft health regulations.
In each case, the 41 scientists on a board — many of whom were appointed by Trump administration officials to replace scientists named by the Obama administration — found the regulatory changes flew in the face of science.
Legal experts said the advisory body’s opinion could undermine the Trump administration’s rollbacks in the courts. “The courts basically say if you’re going to ignore the advice of your own experts you have to have really good reasons for that,” said Patrick Parenteau, a professor of law with the Vermont Law School. “And not just policy reasons but reasons that go to the merits of what the critiques are saying.”
Many scientists on the advisory board were selected by Trump administration officials early in the administration, as President Trump sought to move forward with an aggressive agenda of weakening environmental regulations. During the first year of the Trump administration, more than a quarter of the academic scientists on the panel departed or were dismissed, and many were replaced by scientists with industry ties who were perceived as likely to be more friendly to the industries that the E.P.A. regulates.
It's both pathetic and reassuring.