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889 out of 1,586 EPA Employees Agree « The Washington Independent

With Art’s piece today, that is. That’s how many EPA scientists said they personally experienced at least one incident of political interference in the last five years, in a survey conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists. At last week’s ozone hearing — you know, the one where administrator Stephen Johnson was served up on a platter to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee — the UCS’s Dr. Francesca Grifo talked about that survey in her testimony. Many of those 889 called out the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for interfering with the EPA’s scientific process.

Responding to an essay question which asked, "How could the integrity of scientific work produced by the EPA best be improved?" 100 EPA scientists wrote that the OMB should stop jeopardizing EPA science.

One scientist wrote: "OMB and the White House have, in some cases, compromised the integrity of EPA rules and policies; their influence, largely hidden from the public and driven by industry lobbying, has decreased the stringency of proposed regulations for non-scientific, political reasons. Because the real reasons can’t be stated, the regulations contain a scientific rationale with little or no merit."

A scientist for the EPA Office of Air and Radiation said: "Currently, OMB is allowed to force or make changes as they want, and rules are held hostage until this happens. OMB’s power needs to be checked as time after time they weaken rulemakings and policy decisions to favor industry."

As Art reports today, the White House has used the OMB to make the EPA’s regulatory processes transparent to only the White House itself. As many EPA scientists report, this gives the White House undue political influence over what should be regulations based on science.

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