Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan has dismissed more than 40 key science advisers appointed by former President Donald Trump, a move he says will restore trust in the agency and reduce the influence of business interests over environmental regulations.
“Resetting these two scientific advisory committees will ensure the agency receives the best possible scientific insight to support our work to protect human health and the environment,” Regan said in a statement.
In a memo to staff last week, Regan said the agency is reviewing any policies that impeded science. He also encouraged career employees to report anything concerning to officials tasked with assessing the agency’s commitment to scientific integrity.
“When politics drives science rather than science informing policy,” Regan wrote, “we are more likely to make policy choices that sacrifice the health of the most vulnerable among us.”
In an interview with The Washington Post earlier this month, Regan confirmed that new climate regulations are a top priority for a once embattled agency, noting that he is tasked with “rebuilding the morale” at an agency that was the target of many of Trump’s rollbacks.
“I hope that EPA will be remembered in four years for righting the ship and really making significant strides on lowering the emissions from greenhouse gases, protecting our water quality, doing it in a way where we’re creating lots of jobs in a fair and equitable manner,” he said at the time. “If we can right this ship and start to achieve those goals and do it in a way with a rising tide for all communities in this country, I think we’ll be off to a good start.”