Q: What would you do if you wanted to rescind standards that protect public health and the environment or to push through proposals that enable poor environmental practices and expose the public to dirtier air and water and fail to address climate change?
A: One very effective way to roll back environmental standards and protections is to eliminate the oversight of advisory committees made up of informed and knowledgeable members of the public. The President signed an Executive Order directing that agencies eliminate 1/3 of their standing advisory committees. So on the chopping block, at EPA alone, are the Clean Air Act Advisory Panel, the Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee, the Environmental Finance Advisory Board, the Board of Scientific Counselors, the Science Advisory Board, the Safe Drinking Water Act Advisory Board and the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Panel. Combine the elimination of scientifically competent oversight with the FACT that both the EPA Administrator and the Secretary of the Interior are former lobbyists for the coal and gas industry, and it is pretty clear what is going on.
This administration is methodically removing public health and environmental protections to improve the bottom line for industry and is removing the major obstacles it sees in its path: the scientists and informed public interests. The administration knows it cannot win on the merits of its environmental plans so they are wiping out those voices that can and will push back on behalf of the well-being of the public. The next time you hear “EPA says weakened standards are OK”, remember that this federal government doesn’t have your interests, or those of your children, in mind.