Judge Hears Opening Arguments on Biden Administration’s Alleged Purge of Industry From EPA Panels

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Judge Timothy Kelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia heard opening arguments Dec. 22 on “,” which concerns allegations that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) illegally purged both its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and its Science Advisory Board of representatives from the industries their decisions would regulate.

One plaintiff, S. Stanley Young, has experience with the drugmakers Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline and is currently CEO of CGStat. He was on his second three-year term on the Committee when, in March 2021, EPA Administrator Michael Regan fired all seven Committee members and all 47 Board members.

The other plaintiff, Louis Anthony Cox, has experience in the petroleum industry and chemical industry, working for ExxonMobil and the American Chemistry Council, among other companies and organizations. He was fired from both the Board and the Committee.

EPA selected new members of the Committee and of the Board in June and August, respectively. Both panels included some former members of the Board or Board-affiliated committees. The Biden administration described its new Board in August as “the most diverse SAB since the committee was established.”

Young and Cox applied to both panels but were rejected.

Represented by Brett Shumate and other lawyers from the firm Jones Day, the pair filed two briefs in the D.C. district court to stop the Board and Committee from conducting activities before they evaluate the EPA’s particulate matter standards in early 2022.

The briefs pointed out that five of seven committee members were recipients of EPA grants. One member, Elizabeth (Lianne) Sheppard of the University of Washington, had been associated with more than $60 million in money from the EPA.

“By purging the Committee of every industry-affiliated member and replacing them with EPA-funded academics, the Agency has ensured that the Committee is no more “fairly balanced” than one composed entirely of energy companies’ in-house scientists,” one Jones Day brief argued.

Department of Justice lawyers responded with their own brief, arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction and that “the Committee is fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented and the functions to be performed by the Committee.”

By Nathan Worcester

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