Wednesday, June 8, 2011

EPA Gets a "Scientific Integrity Officer"

The USEPA now has its first scientific integrity officer.  EPA named William Sanders, an EPA veteran who is currently the Director of the National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) at EPA to the position.  Sanders will be in charge of implementing EPA's new scientific integrity policy, which was initiated by executive order from President Obama and is due to be completed some time in the fall.

Sanders' appointment comes before an expected report from the Inspector General's office within EPA, which will include advice on what steps need to be taken to ensure the integrity of all scientific work done at EPA.  The IG recently faulted EPA for its lack of action identifying endocrine disruptor chemicals as required by two laws passed in 1996.  The upcoming IG report, expected this summer, reviewed EPA internal policies and processes and will provide advice on maintaining scientific credibility, identifying and dealing with scientific misconduct, and record keeping. 

Sanders has been at EPA for more than three decades in a variety of roles.  According to sources, the role as NCER chief has caused some to question his ability to take on the new appointment.  Apparently morale has been dropping since he started at NCER, with many employees choosing to leave.  Still, the scientific integrity officer role will allow Sanders to oversea the new integrity policy and incorporate the suggestions from IG and others.

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