Steve Milloy’s recent call for reforming EPA’s science advisory boards is predicated on falsehoods and misdirection.
Milloy’s claim that 90% of an advisory panel’s members are EPA grantees is false. While some individuals are members of interdisciplinary scientific consortia that have received EPA funding, not every individual has received support personally.
Milloy employs misdirection when he argues recipients of EPA funds should be disqualified from being science advisors. He does not mention that many EPA advisors, like me, have also received research support from industry. Under EPA rules, a scientist cannot be disqualified for receiving industry or EPA support. Indeed, if industry support was grounds for disqualification, there would be a total of zero EPA science advisors representing corporate America; this would include my SAB colleague, Michael Dourson, Trump’s pick for EPA’s toxics chief.
Milloy also implies there’s a shortage of industry representatives among EPA’s advisors. In fact, EPA boards contain a healthy mix of experts from regulated industries. For example, every SAB advisory panel includes significant and valuable industry representation; and, the recent fracking review panel had more than 200 years of collective industry experience.
Finally, Milloy calls for tighter conflict-of-interest rules for EPA’s advisors. He doesn’t mention that every federal advisory committee in every government agency follows the same set of rules. What Milloy—who is known for hostility toward mainstream science—really wants is special EPA-only rules that would push science that is necessary for safeguarding the health of Americans to the sidelines.
Today is the third day of August in 2017. It’s not a normal one.
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