Experts accused the White House of escalating its war on science after President Donald Trump issued a Friday executive order slashing federal advisory committees by at least one-third.
“It was death by a thousand cuts, now they are taking a knife to the jugular,” said Gretchen Goldman, a research director at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“Make no mistake,” added volcanologist Jess Phoenix. “This is an all-out assault on science.”
Trump’s order sets a September 30 deadline for each agency to make the cuts to the bodies formalized under 1972’s Federal Advisory Committee Act.
Per The Hill:
Trump’s plan therefore represents “an attack on the way that facts and verified information feed into our government,” wrote Genna Reed, a science and policy analysts with UCS.
The order calls for some exemptions, Bloomberg reported. “Federal advisory committees required by statute are essentially exempted from the executive order, as are advisory committees that provide input to regulatory agencies created to be independent from the executive branch, such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.”
That presents a problem for Trump’s “arbitrary” demand that the number of advisory committees be reduced to 350, wrote Reed.
Also exempted, per the executive order, are “a merit review panel or advisory committee whose primary purpose is to provide scientific expertise to support agencies making decisions related to the safety or efficacy of products to be marketed to American consumers.”
As Goldman said in a Twitter thread Friday, “the administration is cutting expert advice from decision-making all together.”
Mustafa Ali, who previously served as the head of the EPA’s environmental justice program, expressed concern about the committee eliminations in an interview with NBC News.
“This is another example,” he said, “of how disconnected the Trump administration is from the needs of the American people and how to protect them from harm.”