Most administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") pay lip service to science, particularly during their confirmation hearings. But the truth is, despite recent reforms, the role of science at EPA still needs to be strengthened. One incident that exemplifies the nature of the problem occurred early in the Reagan Administration: Shortly after taking office, then- EPA Administrator Anne Gorsuch fired most of the scientists on EPA's Science Advisory Board to replace them with scientists who were good, solid Republicans. The problem is not limited to one political party or ideological point of view. EPA is truly bipartisan in its tendency to run roughshod over science to follow the political winds. For example, until recently EPA adhered to the scientifically discredited "no-threshold" hypothesis for carcinogens because the results
please environmentalists, and EPA sometimes refuses to acknowledge the worldwide scientific consensus regarding global climate change because doing so would displease conservatives. "Good science" is not a partisan issue, nor does it favor industry over environmentalists. On the contrary, the modern environmental movement was founded on the work of scientists such as Rachel Carson who used science to challenge society to change its ways.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Elliott, E. Donald, "Strengthening Science’s Voice at EPA" (2003). Faculty Scholarship Series. 5096.