Advisory Committee Chair grilled at EPA hearing

On Tuesday, the House Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing entitled “Expanding the Role of States in EPA Rulemaking”.

This was another move by House Republicans in their ongoing quest to discredit and politicize science. Much of the meeting, however, was spent on an entirely different topic.

The Democrats invited Dr. Deborah Swackhamer, an environmental scientist who is currently the chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC), an EPA advisory committee. This is the same board which had half of its members let go at the end of their first terms last month.

Though this move is completely within the power of the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, it is still unprecedented. Usually members who are actively contributing are asked to stay for the maximum two terms unless there is a clear conflict of interest or their expertise is no longer needed.  

The new administration seems intent on incorporating as many pro-industry voices as possible, as well as diminish the consensus science already out there. Especially in the environmental science field--President Trump’s new proposed budget still cuts EPA funding by over 30 percent.

House Republicans echo the Trump administration’s concern that the EPA has overreached and is pushing through regulations based on bogus climate science--and the advisory boards, such as Swackhamer’s BOSC, are helping this anti-business conspiracy.

Conveniently forgotten: the fact that BOSC only advises on the science research goals of the EPA’s Office of Research and Development, having absolutely no input for policy decisions.

Still, this didn’t stop House Republicans from attacking Swackhamer throughout the hearing today. Below is our compilation of this cringe-worthy barrage, with a closing rumination between Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Swackhamer on the importance of science and the Trump administration’s anti-science tendencies: