Wednesday, July 13, 2011

National Academy of Sciences Warns EPA on Science

Get your science right or face irrelevance
A key EPA science adviser is warning that the agency must succeed in making its scientific research programs more transparent and sound in order to to bring credibility back to agency science, or EPA will risk increased scrutiny from House Republicans and industry that could prompt a “crisis.”

“You can’t fail this time,” Thomas Burke, associate dean of The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who also chaired a recent National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel on ways to improve EPA risk assessments, told EPA officials and other scientific advisers during a discussion on the agency’s new chemical safety research program June 30.

“The sleeping giant is that EPA science is on the rocks . . . if you fail, you become irrelevant, and that is kind of a crisis,” Burke told a joint meeting of EPA’s Science Advisory Board and EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) charged with looking at the reorganization of the agency’s research programs.

Burke, who chaired a recent NAS panel that recommended a host of steps for EPA to improve its risk assessment process, pointed in particular to the agency’s risk assessment process, calling it EPA’s “Achilles heel.”
Of course, when you wield 10 billion bucks, you're unlikely to be irrelevant, whether your science is right or wrong.

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