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August 18, 2020

Chairwoman Johnson Statement on Extension of EPA Science Advisory Board Nomination Period

(Dallas, TX) - Late last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) re-opened the Science Advisory Board (SAB) nomination period through August 31 in reaction to an April court ruling striking down former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s much-criticized 2017 policy prohibiting EPA grant recipients from serving on Agency advisory boards. The Agency’s previous position asserted that individuals awarded EPA grants were considered to have a conflict-of-interest. EPA is scheduled in the coming weeks to make decisions regarding the membership of the SAB and other advisory committees, such as the Toxic Substances Control Act Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals.

Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) made the following statement.

“I am pleased that EPA has decided to extend the nomination period for candidates to the Science Advisory Board (SAB). The previous policy that was struck down was a misguided attempt to force some of our nation’s most qualified and respected scientists off of the Agency’s advisory boards, while holding representatives from industries that are regulated by EPA to a different set of standards.

“Now that EPA grant recipients are once again eligible for SAB membership, it is imperative that all nominees to the SAB and its standing committees be evaluated solely on the basis of their scientific and technical expertise.

“I will be watching closely for any sign that the selection process is tainted by political or ideological bias. I expect the Agency to select new SAB members based upon their professional qualifications. Advisory committees such as the SAB serve a vital function in assessing the scientific and technical basis of Agency policies, and the Agency must not allow any criteria other than scientific expertise to influence their composition.”