E.P.A. Official Pressured Scientist on Congressional Testimony, Emails Show

June 26, 2017

By Coral Davenport –

The Environmental Protection Agency’s chief of staff pressured the top scientist on the agency’s scientific review board to alter her congressional testimony and play down the dismissal of expert advisers, his emails show.

Deborah Swackhamer, an environmental chemist who leads the E.P.A.’s Board of Scientific Counselors, was to testify on May 23 before the House Science Committee on the role of states in environmental policy when Ryan Jackson, the E.P.A.’s chief of staff, asked her to stick to the agency’s “talking points” on the dismissals of several members of the scientific board.

“I was stunned that he was pushing me to ‘correct’ something in my testimony,” said Dr. Swackhamer, a retired University of Minnesota professor. “I was factual, and he was not. I felt bullied.”

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