The United States House Of Representatives has passed a bill designed to prevent qualified, independent scientists from advising the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. Instead, these scientists will be replaced by industry affiliated choices who may or may not have any actual expertise in the field on which they’re advising, and whose paychecks may come from organizations and companies that oppose EPA actions.
The vote was 220 – 191.
“Conflicts of interest threaten the integrity of science,” said Francesca Grifo, former director of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History at a congressional hearing. “Specifically, the objectivity of the members of an advisory committee and the public’s trust in the advice rendered by that committee are damaged when a member of an advisory committee has a secondary interest that creates a risk of undue influence on decisions or actions affecting the matters in front of the committee.
Well put.
Research scientists are also barred under the act from advising on any topics that might “directly or indirectly involve review and eveluation of their own work.” That basically means that people who have studied particular chemicals that might be released into the environment are the only ones who won’t be allowed to testify on their potential impacts.
If this bill becomes law, it’ll just be another victory for the super wealthy, the big corporations, and the big polluters. Our government has been bought.