President Joe Biden’s administration is continuing its purge of Trump-era political appointees, this time firing two entire science advisory panels at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the organization announced Wednesday.
EPA Chief Michael Regan cleared out both the Science Advisory Board (SAB) and Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), arguing that firing the 40 board members appointed under President Donald Trump would improve the EPA’s reliance on science. The members retain the opportunity to reapply for their positions.
“Scientific integrity is one of EPA’s foundational values – and as Administrator, I am committed to ensuring that every decision we make meets rigorous scientific standards,” Regan said in a statement announcing the firings. “Resetting these two scientific advisory committees will ensure the agency receives the best possible scientific insight to support our work to protect human health and the environment. Today we return to a time-tested, fair, and transparent process for soliciting membership to these critically important advisory bodies.”
NEWS: The EPA is getting rid of all the current members of two key science advisory panels picked during the Trump years & will “reset” the panels with new members. Previous members can still apply to re-join
— Josh Lederman (@JoshNBCNews) March 31, 2021
Regan’s firings are only the most recent example of an ongoing purge of Trump-era appointees from within the Biden administration. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Senior Trump Official On How Biden Caused The Border Crisis)
Former President Donald Trump’s administration went to great lengths to insert political loyalists into the administrative state in the final weeks and months of his presidency. Trump began preparations for the Biden administration in October 2020 with an executive order stripping many civil servants of their job protections, allowing him to fire them and either replace them with political loyalists or remove their positions entirely.
Career government officials enjoy staunch job protections, requiring an incoming administration to prove both that the appointee is unqualified for the job and that another more qualified candidate was passed over for the role.
The emerging Biden strategy has been to fire political appointees wholesale—regardless of which previous administration appointed them—thereby avoiding protections against political firings.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin first used this strategy in early February, firing hundreds of members of Pentagon advisory councils before reconstituting them at will. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas followed suit on March 26, firing a 32-member advisory council.