EPA Science Advisory Board Unofficially Suspended

As of March 6, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) had not met in at least six months. According to members, the SAB would ordinarily have multiple interactions during any six month period, including at least one two-day meeting and two or three teleconferences. However, the full SAB has not met since August 2017, and has not held any teleconferences. This is widely seen as an attempt by EPA to sideline the SAB, with a report in E&E News quoting one member as saying:

“I guess the Science Advisory Board still exists; I guess I’m still on it . . .[EPA seems to be] giving it what we used to call the ‘pocket veto’: If you don’t meet, then the scientists are not a pain, because they don’t have a forum.”

EPA officials have challenged this view, saying that the lapse is not intentional, but simply the result of delayed paperwork that has prevented new members being appointed to the SAB and meant that it does not have a quorum. SAB Chair, Michael Honeycutt, told E&E news:

“They have had to onboard a larger number this time than they have in the past, but the HR people have just been working furiously because there is a lot of paperwork you have to fill out about all your stock holdings, just to make sure they can tell you ‘Yes, you can participate in this, but you can’t participate in that.'”