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March 16, 2023

Lofgren, Ross, Foushee Statement after IG Confirms Trump-era Interference with EPA PFBS Assessment

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report on alleged political interference in the Agency’s January 2021 perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS) toxicity assessment. The OIG found that Trump Administration political appointees directed a last-minute re-analysis of the assessment that contradicted the best available, peer-reviewed science. This political interference delayed publication by months and led to an insufficiently health-protective toxicity assessment. The Biden Administration EPA withdrew the assessment two weeks after publication due to political interference and republished it in April 2021 with the original toxicity value restored.

Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Environment Subcommittee Ranking Member Deborah Ross (D-NC), and Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee Ranking Member Valerie Foushee (D-NC) issued the following statement:

“This report details yet another example of the disregard for scientific integrity among Trump Administration appointees at the EPA. The OIG’s findings highlight the need for strong and clear scientific integrity procedures related to political interference by senior officials at federal science agencies. With the January issuance of the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Framework for Federal Scientific Integrity Policy and Practice, agencies are currently in the process of amending their scientific integrity policies. Science Committee Democrats will closely monitor these efforts. Lessons from Trump-era political interference were hard-won, and guardrails must be put in place now to prevent future meddling and protect human health and the environment.”