WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, issued the following statement in response to unprecedented and irrational changes to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board and other EPA Federal Advisory Committees (FAC) announced today by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
“Science is the backbone of smart public policy. At every level of government, policy makers rely on scientists to provide answers and advice outside of the noisy and muddled environment that can be the political discourse. I believe that nonpartisan, unbiased information is simply sacrosanct. This administration’s attack on science is clear when the EPA Administrator replaces members of its federal advisory committees, many of whom are leaders in their respective fields, with individuals tied to industry and state officials known to be critical of EPA’s authority to protect human health and the environment. This administration’s view of what makes science ‘objective’ is dangerously backwards.
“Mr. Pruitt and I can agree on this one point: how science is funded matters. However, Mr. Pruitt is sorely mistaken to think scientists funded by EPA grants are biased in their advice to EPA policy makers. EPA-funded research, like all federal research grants, is paid for by the public and has one mandate, promote the public interest. The industry insiders and hostile critics of the EPA that this administration is putting on the SAB are anything but objective. Further, when Mr. Pruitt comments that funding from the federal government creates a bias, he is suggesting that we should distrust the government entirely. This message is transparent and I will not stand for it. We must protect science, information, and the public interest.”