This summer, the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic has filed amicus briefs in two cases challenging former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s directive to exclude scientists who hold EPA research grants from serving on the agency’s science advisory committees. The Clinic’s briefs, filed on behalf of former senior agency officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations, explain that the directive will undermine EPA’s ability to make scientifically-sound decisions and serves no countervailing beneficial purpose.
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In an unprecedented and legally suspect move, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on October 31, 2017, issued a directive that barred scientists who receive EPA research grants from serving on any of the agency’s advisory committees.
Multiple lawsuits have been filed to challenge this directive, including one in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by Physicians for Social Responsibility along with two other organizations and three individual scientists and another in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by the Natural Resources Defense Council. In these lawsuits, the plaintiffs argue—among other things—that the directive violates the uniform federal ethics rules, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and the statutes that establish specific science advisory committees.
The Clinic filed amicus briefs in both of these cases. The briefs explain that the effect of the directive will be to undermine EPA’s ability to base its decisions on the best available science.