Advisory Committees


Court Rebukes EPA’s Ban on Independent Science Advisors

, Deputy director, Center for Science & Democracy

A court this week found serious flaws in the EPA’s exclusion from its advisory committees of academic and non-profit scientists holding grants from the agency. After permitting these eminent scientists to serve (for free!) for decades, the EPA abruptly reversed course in 2017. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York explained that the “EPA was required to provide a ‘reasoned explanation’ for its decision to ‘disregard[] facts and circumstances that underlay or were engendered by the prior policy,” but that the “EPA has failed to do so.” Read more >

Ken Lund/CC BY-SA 2.0 (Flickr)
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Science Advice Shouldn’t Be at the Whim of a President and His Appointees

, Lead science and policy analyst

News is beginning to trickle out about advisory committees that will no longer be used by the federal government as the deadline for agencies to arbitrarily cut one-third of their advisory committees was yesterday, September 30. It has only been three months since President Trump issued an executive order that called upon agencies to terminate a third of their advisory committees in the name of cost savings. Read more >

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White House

Trump Axing Advisory Committees Is Bad for Farmers and Nation’s Food Supply

, Economist

Earlier this summer, the Trump administration issued an Executive Order that would arbitrarily eliminate one-third of all federal advisory committees (FACs) not mandated by statute across the government, while restricting an agency’s ability to form new FACs. FACs provide an avenue for outside experts and stakeholders to weigh in on federal programs and policies, including roughly 150 that advise the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on a variety of food and farming issues. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and other agency and department heads have until today to make these cuts. Read more >

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As Congress Revives its Oversight Responsibilities, Science Should Be on the Agenda

, Deputy director, Center for Science & Democracy

The midterms brought checks and balances to Washington, complete with new opportunities for accountability and oversight, and some members of Congress have already signaled that science will be on the agenda. Today, a diverse set of environmental, public health, and good government organizations released a report outlining what Congress can do to address recent actions that sideline science from policymaking. Read more >

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Photo: grobery/CC BY SA 2.0 (Flickr)

What’s for Dinner? A Preview of the People, Process, and Politics Updating Federal Dietary Guidelines

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

Months behind schedule, two federal departments have officially kicked off the process for writing the 2020-2025 iteration of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Updated and reissued every five years, these guidelines are the nation’s most comprehensive and authoritative set of nutrition recommendations. And although the process is meant to be science-based and support population health—and has historically done so, with some notable exceptions—there are plenty of reasons to believe that the Trump administration is preparing to pitch a few curveballs.

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Photo: grobery/CC BY SA 2.0 (Flickr)
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