WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), chairman of the EPW Subcommittee on Clean Air And Nuclear Safety, and Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), chairman of the EPW Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight, sent a letter to Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt regarding needed reforms to the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC).
Last month, the EPA issued a request for nominations of qualified individuals to serve on CASAC.
In the letter, the senators call on Pruitt to “revisit past CASAC practices to make them compliant with the statute.” CASAC is supposed to provide independent counsel to the administrator on issues specifically listed in the Clean Air Act related to the federal National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). “In the past, CASAC has failed to address these required statutory obligations,” the senators write.
The Senators cite a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that found “CASAC has never provided advice on adverse social, economic, or energy effects related to NAAQS because EPA has never asked CASAC to do so.” The senators also highlight state concerns about inadequate attention to background pollutant levels in the air, especially in the West.
The senators call on Pruitt to ensure that CASAC addresses these issues. “As you review 2017 nominations for CASAC members, we request that you put measures in place to ensure that moving forward, CASAC complies with these statutory obligations. CASAC must be constituted of experts who can provide independent counsel to you in all of the above areas,” write the senators.
Read the full letter here.