Science looks to no longer be a high priority at the EPA.
The New York Times reported Thursday that the EPA plans to eliminate the powerful Office of the Science Advisor, merging it with another office under the Deputy Administrator for Science.
The move represents a significant demotion of the science advisory role. Previously the Office of the Science Advisor reported directly to the administrator. Under the new structure, any findings from the office would have to go two rungs up the ladder to reach the administrator.
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Green Car Reports reached out to the EPA for comment but did not receive a response before publication.
In a statement to the New York Times, the EPA's Science Advisor Dr. Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta characterized the decision as an effort to "combine offices with similar functions" and "eliminate redundancies."
Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, has been working to streamline the agency and eliminate regulations.
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Among rules he is working to eliminate are tightening emissions and fuel economy standards set under the Obama administration and the Clean Power Plan, which would have required coal-fired powerplants to reduce emissions.
Wheeler's predecessor, Scott Pruitt, also restructured the agency's science advisory panels to restrict academic scientists from serving on the boards and replaced them with industry scientists.
In a separate move Tuesday, the EPA placed the head of the Office of Children's Health, noted pediatric epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Etzel, on non-disciplinary administrative leave, the Times reported. The office was another EPA branch that regularly pushed to strengthen pollution regulations.