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A Shift in Who Advises the EPA Has Some Environmental Scientists Concerned

Clay Masters/Iowa Public Radio

Scientists serving as advisers to the Environmental Protection Agency are finding out from news stories that they’ve been removed or demoted.

Many of these scientists come from academia, and they say they’re being replaced by scientists from industries regulated by the EPA

Professor Peter Thorne heads the University of Iowa’s Department of Occupational and Environmental Health. Until recently, he also chaired the EPA’s Science Advisory Board, the agency’s most prominent advising body.

“I was term limited, but I was nominated to continue. And I found out from the media that someone else had been asked to chair that going forward. So I have not gotten official word, but my name disappeared from the website this week, so that’s confirmation.”

Thorne says he’s worried changes at the EPA will limit the agency’s ability to protect public health and the environment.

During this hour of River to River, Thorne talks with host Ben Kieffer. Professor Deborah Swackhammer, an emeritus professor at the University of Minnesota and chaired a different board that advises EPA, also joins the conversation. 

During the second half of this hour of River to River, Jay Simmons, president of Simpson College, joins the program to talk about a new plan to offer some incoming freshman free tuition next fall. 

Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River