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In another surprise for the people who voted for the Leopards Eating Your Face Party, the Environmental Protection Agency will be replacing half the members on one of its most important scientific advisory panels, because obviously there are just too many darn scientists on it and not enough people from industries regulated by the EPA. In related news, the National Henhouse Security Board is taking applications from a broader spectrum of applicants, with a special outreach to members of the vulpine-American community.

The changes will affect nine members of the EPA's 18-member Board of Scientific Counselors, which advises the agency on the scientific validity of research being used in developing regulations. Those dismissed had come to the end of at least one three-year term; under past administrations, it was common practice to reappoint sitting members to another term instead of sending them packing. But not the Trump administration, because Business as Usual at the EPA is bad for Business:

EPA spokesman J.P. Freire said in an email that “no one has been fired or terminated,” and that [EPA head Scott] Pruitt had simply decided to bring in fresh advisers. The agency informed the outside academics on Friday that their terms would not be renewed.

The Lying Media better not say anyone was fired! This is perfectly normal! Also, Freire wanted to make it clear these scummy scientists have been getting a free ride on the government too long, and it's time to shake everything up, including all the metaphors:

“We’re not going to rubber-stamp the last administration’s appointees. Instead, they should participate in the same open competitive process as the rest of the applicant pool,” Freire said. “This approach is what was always intended for the Board, and we’re making a clean break with the last administration’s approach.”

Oh, sure, maybe the people being told to empty their desks had been assured earlier that they'd be reappointed, but this is the Trump administration, and promises aren't worth the paper they're hastily erased from. Besides, if the dismissed board members would like to try for a second term, they're welcome to apply for one like all the new people who are applying, and their application will be carefully considered, you goddamned whiners. Here's Ryan Jackson, Pruitt's chief of staff, explaining in an email why the boss is right and the board members are whiny titty babies:

“I’m not quite sure why some EPA career staff simply get angry by us opening up the process,” he said. “It seems unprofessional to me.”

"Opening up the process" in this case means letting people who aren't necessarily burdened by academic connections help set scientific standards, because that's just fair. In a democracy, why should "experts" get all the say?

A lot of rightwing politicians have complained the science board is far too contaminated by science, which can be toxic for a healthy business ecosystem. Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, who stunningly disproved global warming with a snowball, has generously sent several aides to work for Pruitt, his Oklahoma/oil industry homeboy, and said earlier this year that it's damn well time the EPA stopped doing all that fake science that is fake because of course it's fake: "They’re going to have to start dealing with science and not rigged science." It is believed that at least one place on the revamped science board will be reserved for an actual snowball.

Back in February, Texas Republican Lamar Smith, the spectacularly anti-science chairman of the House Science Committee, said he's excited by the prospect of expanding the membership of the EPA's Scientific Advisory Board to include more non-academics, who are obviously biased by being all sciencey:

“The EPA routinely stacks this board with friendly scientists who receive millions of dollars in grants from the federal government,” Smith said at the time. “The conflict of interest here is clear.”

Clearly, the board needs more members from the oil and coal industries, where drilling engineers count as scientists and they are wholly untainted by government grants.

One member of the current board, Joe Arvai, said in an email that the EPA's regulatory process already includes chances for industry to have input on regulations, since

work on agency rulemaking is open to public viewing and comment. So, if diversity of thought and transparency are the administrator’s concerns, his worries are misplaced because the SAB is already has these bases covered.”

“So, if you ask me, his moves over the weekend — as well as the House bill to reform the SAB — are attempts to use the SAB as a political toy,” Arvai added. “By making these moves, the administrator and members of the House can pander to the president’s base by looking like they’re getting tough on all those pesky ‘liberal scientists.’

Well, yes. That's the point, isn't it? Sure takes you crazy liberals a lot of words to make a pretty obvious point. Now step aside and let the oil boys show you how to handle the environment. For one thing, just look at the terrific job they did getting petroleum science all over the Gulf of Mexico a few years back.

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[WaPo]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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