Top Republicans on the House science committee are pressing Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to open the agency's annual science advisory meeting next month to the public after finding out it would skew toward pro-regulation, environmental groups.
"Unfortunately, despite this stated commitment to inclusivity, outreach and a belief in the importance of promoting scientific integrity to build public support, the June 14 stakeholder meeting appears to be markedly exclusive," said Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith of Texas and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Andy Biggs of Arizona in a letter to Pruitt.
The chairmen said it wasn't good enough that EPA's scientific integrity official, Francesca Grifo, invited mostly guests consisting of "respected scientists and non-political scientific organizations" because only one invitation went out to an organization representing industries affected by the EPA's scientific decision making.
It also appears to exclude groups representing states, the letter pointed out.
"On the other hand, a significant number of environmental and other left-leaning activist organizations apparently have received invitations," the chairmen wrote.
The letter details how under the Obama administration meetings between EPA officials and activist groups about regulations were secretive, which the science committee tracked extensively in its oversight capacity.
For that reason the lawmakers wrote that if opening the June 14 EPA Scientific Integrity Annual Stakeholder Meeting to the public is not possible, then Pruitt should ensure that Grifo ensures that the meeting is "balanced."
The science committee wants a response by June 5.