EPA is drawing closer to cementing President Joe Biden’s plans for protecting science across the federal government, but the agency’s proposed safeguards for its own researchers are already coming under scrutiny.
This month, EPA asked its employees to review the agency’s draft scientific integrity policy, which is expected to be released soon to the public. The guidelines — the product of more than a decade of work at the agency that was further elevated since the beginning of the Biden administration — could serve as a shield for science from political interference that became commonplace during the Trump administration. Yet the draft policy, which should be a reinforced defense for EPA’s scientists, is facing stinging criticism from some watchdog organizations that have pushed for strong protections. Kyla Bennett, the science policy adviser for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a whistleblower group for staff at environmental agencies, said that EPA must rely on the best available science. But she argued that the agency’s scientific integrity policy in its current form is not forceful enough and could let offenders off the hook.