August 21, 2017
The Honorable Scott Pruitt
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Administrator Pruitt,
As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states on its website, "science is the backbone of EPA's decision-making. The Agency's ability to pursue its mission to protect human health and the environment depends upon the integrity of the science on which it relies." In that spirit, I urge you to rescind the new review requirements for research grant solicitations.
It is a real possibility that the recent directive to have the public affairs office review requests for research proposals will cause the public, particularly scientists and environmental policy decision-makers, to question the integrity and independence of EPA research. For science to function optimally and for the EPA to successfully offer the greatest benefit to the public, science must be independent of political interference.
The new internal review process creates an opportunity for politics to override independent science. It is disturbing that the Agency is moving to allow politics to redefine requests for proposals that have been carefully crafted to ensure the Agency and its government partners have access to quality scientific information to inform decision-making. Even seemingly minor modifications to the technical scope of a grant solicitation could result in significant changes to the research conducted and thus the potential for the research results to be used to inform decision-making.
Thank you for considering these concerns. If AIBS can be of assistance on this or any other matter, please contact me at (202) 628-1500 x250.
Robert Gropp, Ph.D.
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