March 4, 2024

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan wears a protective mask while he is sworn in during a ceremony in Washington, DC on Wednesday, March 17, 2021.

Ken Cedeno | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Michael Regan said Wednesday he would be firing members of two key scientific advisory committees selected by former President Donald Trump. He said this will help restore scientific integrity and confidence in the agency.

The decision will oust the researchers on the Scientific Advisory Board and the Scientific Advisory Board on Clean Air, whose work helped fuel the Trump administration’s withdrawal of environmental regulations in favor of fossil fuel manufacturers.

The move is also part of the Biden administration’s broader effort to restore morality and scientific integrity to the EPA after Trump rejected the scientific consensus that humans are causing climate change and sought to make the agency more affordable for deregulation.

For example, the agency recently relaunched a website on climate change that Trump deleted four years ago.

In a memo to staff last week, Regan said the EPA is reviewing years of environmental policies and decisions by the Trump administration to determine where scientific data may have been deliberately tampered with or suppressed.

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“Resetting these two scientific advisory committees will ensure that the agency receives the best possible scientific evidence to support our work to protect human health and the environment,” Regan said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Today we are returning to a proven, fair and transparent process to apply for membership in these important advisory bodies,” he added.

Many EPA experts left the agency under the Trump administration, which withdrew more than 100 environmental regulations in four years.

Regan has said he wouldn’t rule out these workers returning to the agency. The agency is now looking for new applications for the two panels.

The EPA plays a crucial role in Biden’s agenda to decarbonise the electricity sector by 2035 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.