A former Environmental Protection Agency official who was fired shortly after President Joe Biden took office alleged that the agency is illegally purging its ranks in a lawsuit filed Thursday.
Stanley Young served a 3-year term on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB) between 2017 and 2020, and Young was reappointed for another term set to expire in 2023, according to the complaint. But after EPA Administrator Michael Regan took office in March, Young’s tenure was cut short and he was fired along with every other SAB member.
The complaint alleges that the EPA’s actions violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (FACA) which requires federal advisory committees to be “fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented.”
“Young vs. EPA is a hugely important lawsuit. The law requires that EPA seek scientific advice from an independent and balanced panel of qualified scientists as part of its policy-making process,” Energy & Environment Legal Institute Senior Policy Fellow Steve Milloy said in a statement shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The Biden EPA has turned the law on its head by first deciding what its policy is and then stacking the panel with its cronies.”
“Dr. Stan Young and other applicants were rejected by EPA from panel membership not because they are unqualified, but because they have points of view that might jeopardize EPA’s pre-determined policy plans,” he continued.
After Young and his colleagues were promptly fired, Regan filled the SAB with dozens of academics who are “financially beholden to EPA for multi-million dollar research grants,” according to the lawsuit. This allegedly violates a second FACA provision which orders agencies to take measures to ensure advisory committees “will not be inappropriately influenced by the appointing authority or by any special interest.”
Young had also been nominated to serve on the EPA’s seven-member Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) before Regan was sworn in. The EPA chose not to select him for the committee.
The EPA never argued that Regan or the other fired officials had been unqualified for the positions they held, the lawsuit stated. After the mass firing, Regan said the EPA would be able to ensure it “receives the best possible scientific insight,” CNN reported.
“It’s outrageous that the Biden-Harris EPA fired the existing CASAC board and then scuttled conflict-of-interest rules so that it could stack what should be an independent panel with reviewers who will essentially be reviewing their own EPA-funded work,” said Myron Ebell, the director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Young’s lawsuit further alleged that the Biden administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when it reconstituted the two committees. The APA requires federal agencies to provide good enough reasons for regulations they put in place.
In June, Republicans raised the alarm after a Government Executive report laid out how the Biden administration allegedly used dubious means to force senior Consumer Financial Protection Bureau officials to retire.
“The Biden Administration using potentially unlawful actions to force out career staff simply because they’re not liberal enough should be concerning for all members of Congress,” House Committee on Small Business Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer told the DCNF at the time.
The EPA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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