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Scientists Carlos Martin and Peter Meyer resign from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Board of Scientific Counselors
May 17, 2017: Two scientists who work on an independent board reviewing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) research resigned on Friday, May 12, 2017, to protest what they see as a weakening of scientific integrity of the agency. Carlos Martin and Peter Meyer, scientists who served on a Subcommittee of the Board of Scientific Counselors, said they were alarmed by an agency decision last Friday, May 5, 2017, not to renew the contracts for two Executive Committee members of the Board and possibly replace them with industry representatives. "We cannot in good conscience be complicit in our co-chairs’ removal, or in the watering down of credible science, engineering, and methodological rigor that is at the heart of that decision," the scientists wrote in their resignation letters. In addition to not renewing the scientists' contracts, EPA officials are in the process of revamping its website to reflect the new priorities of the Trump administration and Administrator Scott Pruitt. The website no longer contains links on climate change. Last Friday, May 5, 2017, agency officials informed the nine Board Members whose three-years terms had expired at the end of April, 2017, that they would not be automatically renewed as they had expected. The 18-Member Board reports to the EPA's Office of Research and Development. One of those members, Michigan State University professor of community sustainability Robert Richardson, told Reuters that the move came as a surprise because the work they were doing was “apolitical.” He expressed concern that the Board would be "repopulated with business friendly scientists, pushing a questionable kind of science." Martin and Meyer said in their letter that they were also troubled by a proposed 40 percent budget cut in 2018 for the EPA's Office of Research and Development. More details of the budget are expected to be released later this month, May, 2017.