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EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Bars Government-Funded Science Advisers from Panels

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The Daily Signal discusses EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's decision to prohibit scientists who receive grants from the agency from serving on the agency's advisory boards with Kent Lassman and Myron Ebell.

The nation’s top environmental protection official signed a directive Tuesday aimed at preventing conflicts of interest while bolstering the independence and integrity of scientists who advise the government.

Under the new policy announced by Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, researchers and scientists who currently receive grants from the agency are not eligible to fill open slots on three science advisory groups.

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Kent Lassman, president and CEO of the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian, free-market think tank, said the fact that scientific advisers received EPA grants created conflicts of interest that undermined the quality of their advice to top government officials.

“Before you even get to question of how valuable and accurate the advice is, the obvious conflicts of interest lowers the quality of this advice,” said Lassman, who attended the announcement. “The advisers need to be as pure as Caesar’s wife. There should not even be the appearance of a conflict.”

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Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said earlier Tuesday that he supports Pruitt’s directive and encouraged Congress to build on the reforms.

“The scientific advice the administrator receives from these boards must be objective and free from even the appearance of conflicts of interest,” Ebell said.

“The fact that some of the EPA’s advisory boards are filled with members whose research receives millions of dollars of funding from the EPA is an obvious conflict of interest that should never have been allowed to develop,” he said. “Advice from people who are financially dependent on those they are advising may of course in many instances be sound, but it will always be suspect.”

Read the full article at The Daily Signal.