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EPA's Science Advisory Board Has Not Met in 6 Months (scientificamerican.com) 212

The U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board has not met in at least six months, and some of its members say it's being sidelined to avoid getting in the way of agency Administrator Scott Pruitt's anti-regulatory agenda, Scientific American reported this week. From the report: Agency officials say the lapse isn't intentional and that it's just the result of delayed paperwork. That has prevented the group from meeting because there weren't enough members to make a quorum. The board, which typically has about 45 members, is tasked by Congress to evaluate the science used by EPA to craft policy. The full board has not met since August, nor has it had any conference calls or votes. In the past, members would have had multiple interactions during that time period, said William Schlesinger, a board member who is an emeritus professor of biogeochemistry at Duke University. "I guess the Science Advisory Board still exists; I guess I'm still on it," he said. "I think the answer is maybe they're giving it what we used to call the 'pocket veto': If you don't meet, then the scientists are not a pain, because they don't have a forum."
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EPA's Science Advisory Board Has Not Met in 6 Months

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  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday March 11, 2018 @02:21PM (#56243215)

    n/t

    • Well, we all know the dangers of Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, Big Coal . . .

      The board, which typically has about 45 members,

      . . . now meet the terror and horror of Big Boards! You'll never "settle" anything with that many members.

      Whack the size down to 10. Make monthly meetings mandatory . . . otherwise you get booted from the board and lose all the privileges and compensation that goes with it. That would make the board effective in no time.

      That, of course, assumes that you want the board to be effective.

    • Apparently the science isn't settled in some folks view.
  • SOP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Sunday March 11, 2018 @02:22PM (#56243223)
    Ignoring (or otherwise eliminating) the experts and science is pretty much standard operating procedure for this administration.
    • Given the current president almost exclusively put people in charge of each department who were vocal opponents of the missions of their respective departments, I don’t think this result should be surprising in the least.

      Except Ben Carson - I’m not sure he even knew HUD existed prior to 2017. Trump probably just figured he needed a black guy in charge of HUD, given the clientele.

    • Re:SOP (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SoftwareArtist ( 1472499 ) on Sunday March 11, 2018 @05:17PM (#56244123)

      It's hardly the worst he's done. He hasn't even nominated someone for the post of White House science advisor. More than a year into his administration, it's still vacant.

      But why would he want advice from scientists? If God had meant us to think rationally, he would have given us wings!

    • As soon as you are working for the government, it really doesn't matter if you are a "scientist" or an "expert," because your primary role is that of a bureaucrat. Removing, as much as possible, bureaucracy (and, therefore, inevitably political outcomes), is removing the impediments of doing the proper job of experts and scientists.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 11, 2018 @02:32PM (#56243277)

    The 'woke' metaphor is appropriate.

    Government is what you get when people get together and decide how they want to live together, beyond just tribal rules.

    Much of America's legal framework actually came from studying multi-tribe gatherings of tribes, banding together to end cycles of violence.

    Here's the Extra History take on it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    Science now holds no place at the table with this latest administration. Liberal or conservative, this should not be accepted in ANY form of governance.

    Indeed - it shouldn't even be called an actual government anymore. What we have is a largely sleeping body where representation of the United States, it's scientific community, and its ideas should be.

    But our current administration has no interest in sharing space of any kind, in communicating ideas, of advancing any but their own narrowest of interests. They'll lavishly communicate with dictators of any kind, but never offer a second to science.

    Which is a shame - because they're largely the last place of noteworthy power that baby boomers will hold in this world. This will be their legacy, more than most things.

    It's such a shame they spend that power sleeping, while being robbed of everything they used to care about.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by argStyopa ( 232550 )

      "Government is what you get when people get together and decide how they want to live together, beyond just tribal rules.
      Much of America's legal framework actually came from studying multi-tribe gatherings of tribes, banding together to end cycles of violence."

      And what was the key insight of the Founding Fathers in their observations? That governments are made of people, and people are prone to corruption and motivated primarily by self interest. So they built a democratic republic (not a democracy - they

    • by PJ6 ( 1151747 )

      Much of America's legal framework actually came from studying multi-tribe gatherings of tribes, banding together to end cycles of violence.

      Here's the Extra History take on it:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

      Dude. Thank you for posting that. Makes me wish they'd taught history differently in school.

      Maybe some day the guys who made Avatar: The Legend of Korra will pick that story up and make it a series.

  • biogeochemistry (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by EETech1 ( 1179269 )

    biogeochemistry

    I read that as:

    bigegochemistry

    Like 10 times till I got it right :l

  • We're just taking a quick 4 year vacation to recharge ourselves. Well, technically a staycation -- wouldn't want to travel and risk visiting one of those shithole countries.
  • Get over it (Score:2, Funny)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

    Trump won and Science lost, so get over it, snowflakes.

  • Didn't you now science is now owned by The Pres and his party ?

    The Roman Catholic Church use to define science based upon the scripture until I think the 19th or 18th century.

    So we (US) have been moving slowly back to that time period, where real provable science is fake and real science is just entertainment :)

    Strange times we live in, many people running the US rejects Science were Roman Catholic Church seems to be a leader in science.

  • FTFY (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sfled ( 231432 ) <sfled@UUUyahoo.com minus threevowels> on Sunday March 11, 2018 @04:20PM (#56243891) Journal
    "... it's being sidelined to avoid getting in the way of agency Administrator Scott Pruitt's anti-science agenda..."
  • William Schlesinger and others in the advisory board have a list of people who are on said advisory board, presumably. This list contains contact info, presumably, or conversely the members are well known enough (to one another, at least) that contact info is easy to retrieve, presumably. Send some emails, make some calls, decide on when everyone has time, and schedule a meeting. It can be done in person or via teleconference, most of these people are academics and will have access to decent bandwidth. I
    • If only it were that easy! No, they can't just get together on their own. That is not an official meeting of the scientific advisory board. They can't officially consider any EPA business or issue any official advice.

      Notice the agency's excuse. "Agency officials say the lapse isn't intentional and that it's just the result of delayed paperwork." And a bit later in the article. "He blamed the delay on the government's bureaucratic human resources process and said the official start date for many new me

      • That's the kind of shenanigans that is really easy to defeat, though. You file an intent to meet, you meet a few days later, you file the minutes for the meeting. The meeting has officially happened and any attempts to deny it would look foolish and not stand scrutiny. At the local level this happens all the time.
        • Not a bad idea, but the charter for the committee may have language to dissuade this sort of thing. I suppose amendment could be item one on the agenda...
  • by mschuyler ( 197441 ) on Sunday March 11, 2018 @07:22PM (#56244519) Homepage Journal

    I've been on them. They are always for show and politically correct. One member from this place. One member from there. One Black. One Hispanic. Equality for women. One union rep, one from academia, one from the public sector. And every single person there has a political agenda to push, something they want done in the name of "justice" for their cause. Everyone tries one upmanship and grandstanding and thinks they can control the agency from their chair around the table. Advisory committees are not worth the cost the agency must pay for their lunches. It looks good on a resume and is a great excuse for a junket away from work so your employer thinks you're "contributing to the public good." and putting a feather in your oranization's cap as well as your own. It's a waste of time.

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