Sen. Tom Carper sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on May 9 seeking more information on the agency’s abrupt dismissal of 12 scientists from its Board of Scientific Counselors.

The board provides advice and recommendations to EPA’s Office of Research and Development regarding how the agency should conduct scientific research. Recently it was reported that Pruitt intends to replace the scientists with officials from the industries that EPA is charged with regulating.

“I am concerned that with these planned actions, along with previous steps you have taken to remove mention of climate change from EPA’s website, censor the analysis of EPA’s career staff and deny the consensus scientific views about the cause of climate change, you are engaging in a broad approach of denying the science that forms the basis of sound environmental regulation,” Carper said in the letter. “While this approach may satisfy those in industry who wish to avoid or delay taking steps to curb levels of dangerous air, water and environmental pollutants, your aggressive denial and dismissal of scientific principles and advisers will not prevent the seas and temperatures from rising, will not cause toxic chemicals to suddenly become safe and will not lead to cleaner air or water. Rather, your approach is certain to endanger human health and the environment — the precise opposite of EPA’s stated mission.”

“According to reports, the board is comprised largely of academic scientists with a mission of advising EPA about technical and management issues associated with its research programs, but EPA’s spokesperson J.P. Freire has indicated that it may replace them with industry officials, stating that ‘the administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community.’”

Full text of the letter can be found at bit.ly/2qY1Bcn.