The scientists calling for her ouster say they’re concerned the administration is setting a precedent by sidestepping the scientific education requirement.
They claim Williams is serving in contradiction to the administration’s own policies and ethics rules. They pointed to an assessment done by Biden’s Scientific Integrity Task Force that suggests executive branch positions should be filled by candidates with appropriate credentials and that violations of scientific integrity policies should be taken as seriously as violations of ethics rules.
The scientists include Dave Parsons, who led government efforts to reintroduce the endangered Mexican gray wolf in the Southwest; two board members and a scientist with Silver Spring, Maryland-based Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility; well-known biology professors Paul and Anne Ehrlich at Stanford University; and wolf experts William Ripple and Robert Beschta from Oregon State University.
With the exception of Williams, every director since the agency was overhauled in the 1970s had a scientific education, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
“I see this appointment as a tipping point, where politics will forever override statutory credentials,” said Parsons, who authored the letter.