When Congress established the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) in 1978, it was to provide the EPA with scientific support. Specifically, “The objective of the SAB is to provide independent advice and peer review to EPA’s Administrator on the scientific and technical aspects of environmental issues.”
Like most bureaucracies, the EPA defended its prerogatives by molding the SAB into a group supportive of the EPA, rather than a board that would provide objective recommendations.
My comment isn’t to cast aspersions on the members of the SAB or the related committees, but to address the obvious packing of the SAB and subcommittees with organizations sympathetic to the EPA and its war on fossil fuels.
There are 52 members of the SAB, of which only two are from industry, five from NGO’s and State environmental agencies, three from miscellaneous organizations, and the remainder all from academia.
There are six established committees to support the SAB. These six committees have 88 members, none from industry; seven are from NGO’s, state environmental agencies, and national laboratories; eight are from consulting firms or institutes. The remaining 73 are from academia.
In total, there are 140 members with only two from industry. The two from industry are DOW Chemical and Proctor & Gamble.
Most of the regulations being established by the EPA relate to energy, yet there isn’t a single member of any committee who is from an energy company.
Members of academia have theoretical knowledge but largely lack practical experience. It’s safe to say that representatives from academia are more inclined to be concerned with anthropogenic global warming from greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and sustainability (and have a bias against fossil fuels.) At least two of the consulting firms represented on these committees, according to their web sites, focus on sustainability and climate change.
What’s equally egregious is that the EPA appoints a Designated Federal Officer (DFO) who must attend every meeting of the committee to which he or she is assigned. The DFO approves the agenda for each meeting and can adjourn any meeting at the DFO’s discretion. In addition, the DFO will chair the meeting when instructed to do so, presumably by the DFO’s superior in the EPA (though this last point isn’t clear.)
So, we have stacked boards, combined with DFO’s from the EPA who essentially run the show.
It’s hard to see how the EPA gets the independent advice that Congress intended.
This must be hurting America, especially when it involves energy issues.
The arrangement suits the EPA perfectly.
The EPA, when questioned, can say a proposed regulation has had the required review by the Science Advisory Board and relevant committees. This is a perfect cover arrangement for the EPA, while Congress and the public are both misled.
Some might suggest adding representatives from the energy industry, but this would merely perpetuate the sham since these representatives would be a very small minority within the 140 members of the SAB and related committees.
The only solution to this sham is to do away with the SAB and all six committees and force the EPA to rely on its staff.
The cloak of respectability will have been removed.
Read more of Donn’s columns at his blog, Power for USA.
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