The Biden administration on Wednesday fired over 40 Trump appointees from Environmental Protection Agency advisory panels. The EPA has been taking sweeping action to recover from years of neglect, with climate change and green energy a central piece in Biden’s policy agenda, the Washington Post noted.

The decision affects the Science Advisory Board and Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee. Under Trump, they were criticized as skewing toward industry lobbyists rather than independent scientists.

The Trump administration illegally banned any recipients of EPA grants from serving on the boards. The rule was ostensibly to preserve their independence, but in practice skewed membership heavily toward corporate interests.

The policy was struck down in court, but Trump never reconsidered the board memberships.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan wants a clean slate.

“Resetting these two scientific advisory committees will ensure the agency receives the best possible scientific insight to support our work to protect human health and the environment,” he said. 

Trump has rolled back environmental protections Trump has rolled back environmental protections Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB

The proposed reset was supported by several former EPA chiefs following the election. Regan has also brought back a deleted website on climate change and asked staff to “bring any items of concern” to officials reviewing Trump-era regulations for scientific validity.

“When politics drives science rather than science informing policy,” he said, “we are more likely to make policy choices that sacrifice the health of the most vulnerable among us.”

Christopher Zarba, a retired official that once coordinated the committees, applauded the move. He was careful to note that none of the people currently on the committees were necessarily unqualified: “However, the mix of people did not accurately represent mainstream science,” he told the Post.

“[The reset is] absolutely warranted,” Zarba said. “Lots and lots of the best people were excluded from being considered.”