Administrator Regan Directs EPA to Reset Critical Science-Focused Federal Advisory Committees
Past administration actions hindered the recruitment and retention of members for the Science Advisory Board and the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee
WASHINGTON (MARCH 31, 2021) - Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan announced his decision to reestablish the membership of the Science Advisory Board (SAB) and the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), and reorient the SAB standing committees. EPA staff is now tasked with reconfiguring the independent committees in a way that returns the agency to its standard process of incorporating a balanced group of experts.
"Scientific integrity is one of EPA's foundational values - and as Administrator, I am committed to ensuring that every decision we make meets rigorous scientific standards," said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. "Resetting these two scientific advisory committees will ensure the agency receives the best possible scientific insight to support our work to protect human health and the environment. Today we return to a time-tested, fair, and transparent process for soliciting membership to these critically important advisory bodies."
Administrator Regan's decision to reset these federal advisory committees emphasizes the importance of the SAB and the CASAC to EPA's mission of protecting human health and the environment, and seeks to reverse deficiencies caused by decisions made in recent years. These actions include:
- An internal October 2017 directive that prevented qualified academics and non-government officials who received EPA research grants from concurrently serving on EPA advisory committees, significantly restricting member eligibility. (The portion of the directive pertaining to EPA grants was vacated and remanded in April 2020 by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York);
- Eliminating key air pollution review panels that have augmented the CASAC for decades; and,
- Not following the standard process for appointing committee members, as noted in a July 2019 Government Accountability Office report on EPA Advisory Committees.
These process irregularities led Administrator Regan to direct the SAB staff office to initiate the release of current members of the SAB and the CASAC, to reconstitute, restore and create new committees to better address EPA priorities, and to augment both the SAB and CASAC with specialized panels. Federal Register notices were published today to solicit nominations from all qualified experts in a variety of disciplines to the SAB, the SAB standing committees, and the CASAC.
EPA is grateful for the dedicated service of its current members and encourages all who are interested to reapply for consideration.
The SAB was established in 1978 by the Environmental Research, Development and Demonstration Authorization Act to provide independent advice to the Administrator on scientific and technical matters underlying the Agency's major policies and actions. The CASAC was established in 1977 under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977 and provides independent advice to the EPA Administrator on the technical bases for EPA's National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
For more information about the membership application, and the nomination and selection process, visit https://www.epa.gov/sab.