The EPA Will Dissolve Its Office Of Science Adviser

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William James

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to dissolve its Office of the Science Advisor, a senior post that was created to counsel the E.P.A administrator to ensure that the highest quality science is integrated into the agency’s policies and decisions.

According to a person familiar with the agency’s plan, OSA provided scientific research underpinning health and environmental regulations, strengthening EPA's overall scientific performance, as stated in The New York Times.

The person spoke anonymously because the decision had not yet been made public.

Asked about the E.P.A.’s plans, John Konkus, a spokesman for the agency, emailed a prepared statement from the science adviser, Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, in which she described the decision to dissolve the office as one that would “combine offices with similar functions” and “eliminate redundancies.”

On Tuesday, in an unusual move, the E.P.A. placed the head of its Office of Children’s Health, Dr. Ruth Etzel, on administrative leave, while declining to give a reason for the move.

Michael Mikulka, who heads a union representing about 900 E.P.A. employees, said:

> “Clearly, this is an attempt to silence voices whether it’s in the agency’s Office of Children’s Health or the Office of the Science Advisor to kill career civil servants’ input and scientific perspectives on rule-making.”

Michael Halpern, the deputy director of the Center for Science and Democracy with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said:

> “It’s certainly a pretty big demotion, a pretty big burying of this office. Everything from research on chemicals and health, to peer-review testing to data analysis would inevitably suffer”

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