U.S. EPA shifts pollutant-review process, mixing policy with science

The U.S. EPA continues to suck Big Oil’s dipstick: Yesterday, the agency announced that its air-pollutant reviews, formerly conducted solely by staff scientists, will now incorporate recommendations from its political appointees. Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock insisted the shift will bring “air rule-making into the 21st century,” but former EPA staffers and greens lashed out at the move, widely seen as a result of pressure from the oil and battery industries. “EPA is downgrading the role of its own career experts and making sure that political appointees are running the show from the beginning,” said Frank O’Donnell of Clean Air Watch. Rogene Henderson, chair of an EPA advisory panel that has provided internal auditing of scientists’ reviews, confirmed that the panel will now only be asked to comment on proposed actions after they’ve been made public. On the upside, even when scientists weighed in with administrators ahead of time, she said, “they weren’t taking our advice.” Sigh.