October 8, 2010
Mr. Edward Hanlon
Designated Federal Official
Science Advisory Board
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Mail Code 1400R
Washington, D.C. 20460-4164
Dear Mr. Hanlon,
This letter responds to the comments of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) concerning the nomination of Dr. Michael Economides to serve on the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) Panel for the Review of the Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan.
The EWG objects to the nomination of Dr. Economides because, by authoring an op-ed that was published in the Syracuse Post-Standard on September 13, 2010, “Mr. Economides appears to be biased in favor of a predetermined outcome to EPA’s study…”
If such a standard — i.e., publicly expressing an opinion relating to an area of one’s expertise — is grounds for disqualification, then the SAB will need to disqualify many of its current members.
For example, consider the following examples of current SAB members with well-known opinions and biases:
- Gina Solomon, a member of the SAB Drinking Water Committee is an employee of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental activist group. Ms. Solomon, herself a self-acknowledged activist, has a long history of making alarmist statements to the media on a variety of environmental topics — too many to do justice in this short letter. But one may get a flavor of her various biases from her blog (http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/gsolomon/).
- Arnold Schecter, a member of the SAB Dioxin Review Panel, has many times expressed his alarmist opinions regarding dioxin. Mr. Schecter’s Facebook page, not surprisingly, reveals that he is a fan of the Environmental Working Group — which perhaps is why EWG hasn’t requested to have Mr. Schecter disqualified from serving on the Dioxin Review Panel.
- Bruce Lanphear, a member of the SAB Lead Review Panel, has often expressed alarmist opinions about exposure to lead, including that “there is no safe exposure to lead.” Mr. Lanphear has also called for a ban on commercial uses of lead.
There is no question that many other members of the SAB and its ad hoc committees and panels could be exposed for the apparent wrong of expressing an opinion.
If Dr. Economides is to be disqualified for holding opinions in his field of expertise, is the EPA prepared to similarly disqualify the above-mentioned individuals as well as all other SAB participants who can be shown to have publicly expressed their opinions?
Lisa Jackson, Administrator
Angela Nugent, DFO SAB