Watchdog doubles down on EPA over political interference in science

By Ellie Borst | 06/14/2024 01:28 PM EDT

The agency won’t budge on changing its scientific integrity policy to align with recommendations on political interference.

Hand crossing out document animation.

Trump administration appointees interfered with development of a toxicity assessment for a "forever chemical" and made changes that were "not scientifically sound," documents obtained by POLITICO's E&E News through FOIA show. Claudine Hellmuth/POLITICO (illustration); EPA (document); unclelkt/Pixabay (hand)

EPA’s inspector general is looking to step up a tiff over the agency’s refusal to adopt policy changes meant to counteract political interference in science-based decisions.

The watchdog is now angling to involve EPA’s second in command, Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe, elevating it to the next step in the recommendation-resolution process.

When the Office of Inspector General concluded last year that former President Donald Trump’s political appointees tampered with a toxicity assessment for PFBS, a chemical in the “forever chemicals” family, Inspector General Sean O’Donnell recommended the agency update its scientific integrity policy.


By adding “political interference” as a mandatory reporting category, it would require an immediate complaint be sent to the inspector general.