The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) signed a letter on October 4—along with 76 other organizations—asking President Trump to rescind his executive order cutting Federal Advisory Committees and restore science advice. The order was issued in June 2019 with the aim of cutting one-third of all advisory panels by September 30, capping the total number of panels at 350.
“The removal of advisory committees across the government without a compelling rationale is a threat to a vital independent source of information and deliberation. It will undoubtedly result in a net loss of independent expert capacity and institutional knowledge and leave important work unfinished or underdeveloped,” reads the letter.
The Hill reported on October 1 that the Trump administration will discontinue two federal advisory science panels: the NOAA Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee and the Department of Interior Invasive Species Advisory Committee. Universities, scientific societies, public health experts, and a range of other groups focused on ethics and transparency in government condemned the move as another way the administration seeks to undermine science.
We believe federal scientific advisory boards have a critical role in ensuring evidence-based policies, and the effort to disband these boards is harmful to the scientific endeavor, public health, and good governance.
As part of our work publicizing attacks on science, we’re cataloging the dismantling and freezing of scientific advisory boards in the Silencing Science Tracker, our project with Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. The following are among the 12 entries documenting such changes:
- In May 2017, the Department of the Interior froze the work of more than 200 advisory boards, committees, and subcommittees to enable it to review “the charter and charge of each committee.”
- In August 2017, the Trump administration decided not to renew the charter of the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment.
- In June 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) announced that it was disbanding three sub-committees “[o]n the recommendation of the SAB Staff Office.”