President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency has kicked scientists off a major advisory board and people are, unsurprisingly, angry.
Among the angry is New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who appeared to threaten a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the removal of these scientists from the EPA.
Writing on Twitter this Monday afternoon, he said: “The
@EPA’s job is to protect our environment and our health. If the Trump EPA fails to do its job, I’ll hold them to it.”
Schneiderman is no stranger to confrontations with the Trump administration. He’s led lawsuits that have targeted Trump over everything from fraudulent fundraising activities on the part of his now defunct, personally branded “foundation” to the Trump administration’s refusal to implement energy efficiency standards for the manufacturing of certain heating and cooling equipment.
The scientists in question (formerly) served on the Board of Scientific Counselors and will likely be replaced with industry professionals from the very industries that the EPA is supposed to keep in check. The approach here on the part of the Trump administration is the same that they take to pretty much everything else: Fire into the dark, but try and aim away from big business interests.
The job of the Board of Scientific Counselors is to review regulations produced based on research from EPA scientists.
Ken Kimmell, the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, commented to the New York Times of the firings, saying:
‘This is completely part of a multifaceted effort to get science out of the way of a deregulation agenda. What seems to be premature removals of members of this Board of Science Counselors when the board has come out in favor of the E.P.A. strengthening its climate science, plus the severe cuts to research and development — you have to see all these things as interconnected.’
Former members of the board also commented negatively.
For instance, Courtney Flint, a professor of natural resource sociology at Utah State University, called the firings a “red flag.”