House Committee Leaders Question EPA on Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee Issues

Sep 19, 2019

by ASME.org

Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce and Science, Space, and Technology Committees sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler this week asking questions about EPA’s action to disband the panel of independent science experts that typically supports the work of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). The House Committee leaders are concerned that without sufficient scientific expertise, the CASAC will be unable to properly set the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) needed to protect Americans from harmful air pollutants.
 
The letter was signed by Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO), Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations & Oversight Chair Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), and Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change Chairman Paul Tonko (D-NY).
 
According to the House Committee leaders, EPA recently named 12 ad-hoc consultants to assist with technical questions, functionally rejecting CASAC’s requests and raising additional transparency concerns and questions regarding CASAC’s ability to provide an independent and comprehensive review for NAAQS. Several of the consultants have reportedly criticized strengthening clean air standards in the past on behalf of industry, including on behalf of the Utility Air Regulatory Group which disbanded earlier this year following an investigation by the Energy and Commerce Committee.
 
The full letter is available at: https://science.house.gov/imo/media/doc/EPA.2019.9.16.%20Letter%20re%20NAAQS.OI.pdf