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EPA Adviser Policy in Court

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — Both sides in a federal appeals case challenging EPA’s 2017 decision to prohibit scientists from serving on EPA boards if they have grants from the agency delivered oral arguments Wednesday.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit fired questions at attorneys from the EPA and plaintiffs, led by Physicians for Social Responsibility, in the appeal of a lawsuit that was dismissed one year ago by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

During oral arguments on Wednesday, EPA attorney Jeffrey E. Sandberg said the case boils down to one fact: The agency can choose advisory board members however it wishes.

“EPA has broad discretion to choose what it wants as advisers,” he said. “Federal ethics rules apply to those in federal service. They don’t tell the agency who they can and can’t hire.”

Earthjustice attorney Neil Gormley said EPA’s policy contradicts ethics rules in the U.S.

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