CPR Scholars' Letter on OMB Intervention in EPA Science Programs

by Ben Somberg

October 22, 2009

CPR President Rena Steinzor and board member Robert Glicksman sent a letter today to White House Science Adviser John Holdren and OIRA Administrator Cass Sunstein regarding OMB's role in EPA science decisions. The letter concerns two recent episodes involving OMB that we wrote about this week: one regarding the EPA's Endocrine Disrputor Screening Program (EDSP) and the other regarding the agency's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). From the letter:

Both of these episodes pre-date Professor Sunstein’s confirmation and may well be the product of staff steeped in the culture of OMB regulatory review under the Bush Administration. The episodes represent a direct assault on scientific integrity because they involve attempts to reverse conclusions by agency experts at the behest of regulated industries whose central objections were rooted in concerns about potential future compliance costs, not the accuracy of EPA’s science. Compounding the offensiveness of this interference is the fact that the decisions that were derailed involved efforts to analyze scientific research that were preliminary to any regulation of industry activities.

The letter asks Holdren and Sunstein to clarify the extent of OMB’s role in reviewing agency science.

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