On 6 May 2017, E&E News (a site for energy and environmental news) reported on Richardson's dismissal, as well as news that up to eleven additional members of the 18-member board would not have their terms renewed either - a major overhaul made possible by the fact that a majority of the terms expire this fiscal year.
At least five members of the BOSC have already been dismissed after their terms ended this year, according to The New York Times; numerous members' terms already have or will expire this fiscal year. Although all the scientists being dismissed are at the ends of their three-year terms, they are not political actors and the mandates are generally renewed, barring special circumstances.
She added, "The EPA is treating this scientific advisory board like its members are political appointees when these committees are not political positions". EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has questioned the science supporting the role of human activity in causing climate change.
According to The New York Times, EPA spokesman J.P. Freire suggested that Scott Pruitt is considering replacing the ousted scientists with representatives from industries subject to EPA regulations. The decision is the latest in a series of moves that could benefit polluters.
Courtney Flint, a professor of natural resource sociology at Utah State University who had served one term on the board, said in an email that she was also surprised to learn that her term would not be renewed, "particularly since I was told that such a renewal was expected". "Instead, they should participate in the same open competitive process as the rest of the applicant pool".
"We're not going to rubber-stamp the last administration's appointees". "This approach is what was always intended for the Board, and we're making a clean break with the last administration's approach".
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Robert Richardson, an ecological economist at Michigan State and member of the Board of Scientific Counselors which reviews research done by EPA scientists, sounded the alarm over the dismissals on Friday, telling his Twitter followers: "Today, I was Trumped".
Many in the scientific community have expressed fears that the move is illustrative of a broader effort to make the agency friendlier to industry at the expense of objective science.
It is not clear from what industries or companies the replacement members of the board could come.
The Board of Science Counselors has 18 members, at least five of whom were dismissed on Friday. "I have had the pleasure of serving on the EPA Board of Scientific Counselors, and my appointment was terminated today".
Pruitt, who does not believe in the scientific consensus on climate change, sued the EPA 14 times before leading it and took over with the intention of shrinking the agency.
The Environmental Protection Agency is restructuring some of its independent advisory panels, and that could mean fewer scientists working for the government.