EPN In Action May-June 2019

Welcome to your EPN In Action newsletter update for May-June 2019

Over the past two months EPN submitted two sets of formal comments on proposed rulemakings, provided testimony to an EPA advisory board and committee, analyzed EPA programs threatened by Trump’s budget proposals, and continued to be a trusted source of information to reporters.

About the Environmental Protection Network

The Environmental Protection Network was launched in January 2017 to harness the expertise of former EPA career staff and confirmation-level appointees from multiple administrations to provide an informed and rigorous defense against efforts to undermine the protection of public health and the environment.


Volunteer and staffing updates:

  • We now have a robust database of over 450 EPA alumni volunteering to help protect human health and the environment. 
  • Our annual EPN piano concert and our spring appeal have raised over $8500. Thank you to all who attended and/or made a donation
  • EPN hosted an event in Philadelphia for Region 3 alumni. We have members all over the country and are planning an event for Region 9 alum in the fall.
  • Ten EPN volunteers met with around 15 reporters and editors at E&E News. Special thanks to those who volunteered and stay tuned for more roundtables with press.
  • Please welcome our two summer interns, Michael Callahan and Ben Davis, who assisted with pulling this edition of EPN in Action together.

Remembering John Kennedy

We were sad to mark the June 21st death of EPN volunteer John Kennedy, a long time Region 9 employee who was instrumental in establishing the protocol for evaluating potential health hazards from wildfire smoke. As an EPN volunteer he wrote about this important work in an op-ed in USA Today, and spoke about it during an interview with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC and in other venues.

House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing on “Critical Mission: Former Administrators Address the Direction of the EPA”

Administrator Hearing In the News

Bipartisan Former EPA Chiefs Say Trump Administration Has Abandoned Agency’s Mission

June 11, 2019 / by

Rebecca Beitsch /

The Hill

EPN is mentioned in this article about the historic hearing held by the Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the future of EPA with a bipartisan group of former EPA Administrators. The hearing referenced their joint letter offering lawmakers help on substantive Congressional oversight, as well as help of former EPA staff. Similar articles also ran in The Colorado Independent, Maryland Matters, and a second article in The Hill.

7 Former EPA Administrators Offer to Help Congress with Agency Oversight

May 22, 2019 / by

Ellie Kaufman /


EPN is mentioned in this CNN article about the seven former Democratic and Republican EPA administrators who sent a letter to Congress offering assistance, as the Trump administration seeks to roll back clean air and water regulations, among other policy changes. This story also ran in numerous other media outlets: KLIF-AM, WOKI-FM, KAOK-AM, California Coastal Coalition, KMJ-AM, News Stand HubReddit, WRAL.com, Channel 3000, and WFMZ-TV.

Former Chiefs Say Agency ‘Ripe for Oversight’

May 22, 2019 / by

Kevin Bogardus /

E&E News

EPN Advisor William Ruckelshaus, former EPA Administrator (1970-1973 and 1983-1985), and EPN member Bonnie Bellow, former EPA Director, Public Affairs Division, Region 2, are quoted in this article about seven former EPA administrators sending a letter to Congress, offering their assistance in creating an oversight strategy and a path forward for the agency.

EPN’s Work on the June Science Advisory Board Meeting

Science continues to be an important issue for EPN. Please see all of our science related work here.

EPN Members Testify at SAB Public Meeting

EPN members presented testimony critiquing EPA’s plan to revise its guidelines for carcinogen and non-cancer risk assessment, the Transparency Rule, and co-benefits.

Science Advisory Board In The News

US EPA’s Science Advisory Board Votes to Review Science Transparency Proposal

June 6, 2019 / by

Zack Hale /

S&P Global

EPN members Chris Zarba, former Director, EPA Science Advisory Board, and Steve Silverman, former Attorney, EPA Office of General Counsel, are quoted in this article about the Science Advisory Board rejecting EPA’s call to take a narrow look at its scientific transparency proposal by voting to review it, signaling keen interest in the far-reaching consequences the proposal could have on public health and environmental regulations. A similar piece quoting Chris Zarba ran in E&E News.

EPA Rushes Overhaul of Cancer Testing

May 31, 2019 / by

Corbin Hiar /

E&E News

EPN members Penny Fenner-Crisp, former Senior Science Advisor to the Director, EPA Office of Pesticide Programs, and Dr. Bernard Goldstein, former Chair, EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, and former EPA Assistant Administrator for Research and Development, are quoted in this article about EPA’s plans to quickly revamp its guidelines for evaluating whether environmental contaminants can cause cancer or other ailments, a move Trump administration critics fear is part of a broader effort to weaken the basis for regulating a wide range of pollutants. The article also ran in Science Magazine.


EPA May Sideline Scientists in Changes to Cost-Benefit Analysis

June 4, 2019 / by

Amena H. Saiyid /

Bloomberg Environment

EPN members Chris Zarba, former Director, EPA Science Advisory Board, and John Bachmann, former Associate Director for Science/Policy and New Programs, EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, are quoted in this article about EPA’s plan to forego a review by scientific advisers on the agency’s planned changes to how it justifies the need for major air regulations, which former agency employees and environmental groups say could result in weaker public health protections.

EPN’s Work on the June Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals Meeting and PV29

TSCA continues to be an important issue for EPN. Please see all of our TSCA related work here.

EPN Testimony: TSCA SACC Public Meeting

EPN provided testimony critiquing the draft Risk Evaluation for PV29 at a June public meeting of the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals. EPA is failing to use the authority Congress has recently given it under the revised TSCA to require robust test data to inform its risk evaluation of existing chemicals

EPN Comments on 24 Studies Released for Draft TSCA Risk Eval of PV29

EPN compiled comments on the draft TSCA risk evaluation for PV29, primarily because of a concern about precedent setting. EPA should use its authority under TSCA and not make a determination of “no unreasonable risk” on PV29, or any chemical, based on proprietary information.

SACC and TSCA In The News

EPA Advisers Slam Agency Lack of Data on Safety of Pigment

June 20, 2019 / by

Pat Rizzuto /

Bloomberg Environment

Gary Timm, EPN member and former EPA Chief of the Chemical Testing Branch of the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, is quoted in this article about EPA’s lack of scientific evidence to support the conclusion that PV29 poses no unreasonable threat.

Data Concerns Fuel Controversy Over TSCA PV29 Risk Evaluation

May 10, 2019 / by

Kelly Franklin /

Chemical Watch

EPN member Robert Sussman, former EPA Deputy Administrator and Senior Policy Counsel to Administrator, is quoted in this article about whether the public can trust TSCA risk evaluations without access to full and unredacted copies of health and safety information.

EPN’s Work on Vehicle Emission

Clean car standards continue to be an important issue for EPN. Please see all of our fuel efficiency related work here.

SAFE In The News

Ex-EPA Engineer says Wheeler is Misleading Congress about Car Rule

June 24, 2019 / by

Dino Grandoni /

Washington Post

Jeff Alson, EPN member and former EPA Senior Engineer and Policy Advisor, Office of Transportation and Air Quality, was quoted in this article about EPA’s controversial new rule for vehicle emissions and various attempts to shut certain employees out of the process, which EPA Administrator Wheeler denied in a recent letter to Congress. A similar article ran in Inside EPA.

Science Advisory Board to Review Clean Cars Rollback

June 12, 2019 / by

Maxine Joselow /


EPN members Trish Koman, former Senior Environmental Scientist, Program Manager and Supervisor in EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, and Jeff Alson, former Senior Engineer and Policy Advisor, EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality, are quoted in this article about EPA’s Science Advisory Board planning to review the science behind the proposed overhaul of the clean car standards, zeroing in on the technical analysis underpinning the proposal. This article also ran in Scientific American.

Automakers Tell Trump His Pollution Rules Could Mean ‘Untenable’ Instability and Lower Profits

June 6, 2019 / by

Coral Davenport /

The New York Times

EPN member Margo Oge, former Director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, is quoted in this article about the world’s largest automakers warning President Trump that his rollback of the clean car standards threatens to cut their profits and produce “untenable” instability in a crucial manufacturing sector.

EPN’s Work on Region 6 SIP and Proposed Cuts to EPA’s Budget

EPN Op-Eds

EPN members penned their own op-eds on science, pollution and budget issues concerning water.

How EPA Administrator Wheeler Completely Misinterprets Science

June 20, 2019 / by

Dr. Bernard Goldstein /

The Hill

Dr. Bernard Goldstein, EPN member and former chair, EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, and former EPA Assistant Administrator for Research and Development, wrote this op-ed about Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s misinterpretation of a double-blind study and the current lack of knowledgeable scientific leadership and appreciation for accurate scientific advice at EPA.

Pollution knows no boundaries. The Trump EPA should stop pretending otherwise.

June 5, 2019 / by

Ruth Greenspan Bell and Steven Silverman /

The Washington Post

Ruth Greenspan Bell, EPN Board of Directors President and former EPA Manager in the Office of General Counsel, and Steve Silverman, former Attorney, EPA Office of General Counsel, wrote this op-ed about the Trump administration’s heedless approach to the environment and the delicate regulatory ecosystem that guaranteed all citizens a level of protection from pollution being upset by officials.

EPA Claims To Support ‘Clean And Safe Water,’ Cuts $1.4 Billion From Water Protection

May 21, 2019 / by

David Coursen /

Water Online

David Coursen, EPN member and former EPA Office of General Counsel, wrote an op-ed published in Water Online about the EPA budget proposal’s staggering cuts to water protection and restoration programs, despite Administrator Wheeler’s claim that drinking water is the world’s greatest environmental challenge. For more information, see EPN’s fact sheets on Proposed FY2020 Cuts to Clean Water and Proposed FY2020 Cuts to Clean Drinking Water.


More examples of EPN In The News

In addition to the news articles above, EPN members contributed to a range of articles on topics such as the Clean Power Plan, changes to FACA, changes to cost benefit analysis, perchlorate, PFAS and environmental justice.

Trump’s EPA Knows Its New Coal Rule Could Kill 1,400 People Per Year

June 19, 2019 / by

Alex Lubben /

Vice News

EPN members, Ellen Kurlansky, former EPA Air Policy Analyst and Advisor, Joe Goffman, former Associate Assistant Administrator for Climate and Senior Counsel, EPA Office of Air and Radiation, and Janet McCabe, former EPA Acting Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation, are quoted in this article about EPA Administrator Wheeler’s announcement Wednesday of the Agency’s replacement for the Clean Power Plan, which had aimed to reduce CO2 levels from energy production by a third by 2030. The new rule stipulates that to reduce emissions, coal-fired power plants only need to install more efficient technology.

Trump Order Targets Advisory Committees

June 17, 2019 / by

Niina H. Farah, Kevin Bogardus and Michael Doyle /


EPN members Bob Kavlock, former Acting Assistant Administrator, EPA Office of Research and Development, and former EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator for Science, and Chris Zarba, former Director, EPA Science Advisory Board, are quoted in this article about the executive order released Friday that could make more than half of EPA’s science advisory committees vulnerable to repeal by the end of the fiscal year.

EPA Veteran: Changing Math on Air Pollution Is Deadly

May 23, 2019 / by

Christiane Amanpour /


John Bachmann, EPN member and former Associate Director for Science/Policy and New Programs, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, was interviewed by Christiane Amanpour about EPA’s controversial plan to change how it calculates the health risks of air pollution.

Read all recent EPN In The News items here