CoA Institute Investigates EPA’s “Scientific Integrity” Officer

Cause of Action Institute (“CoA Institute”) today filed a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request with the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to investigate claims of politicization at the Office of Scientific Integrity. Dr. Francesca Grifo, the agency’s Scientific Integrity Officer, who previously worked at the Union of Concerned Scientists, is accused of cozying up with liberal interest groups while “actively working from within to thwart” the new policy agenda of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt.

Dr. Grifo was hired in 2013 under President Obama to be an internal watchdog for the quality of the science and technology used in agency decision-making. Yet her hiring caused a bit of a stir at the time, with Forbes calling it a case of the “blind leading the blind.” “If you needed to hire a person to head the financial integrity division of the Securities and Exchange Commission, how about someone who had held that position in Bernie Madoff’s investment firm?”

Four years later, it remains unclear how Dr. Grifo has worked to improve the situation at the EPA, which regularly creeps into the news for administrative overreach, out-of-touch regulatory proposals, political favoritism, and, most recently, the troubling resistance of a handful of its employees to the new Administration. Our FOIA request seeks information concerning whether and to what extent Dr. Grifo has engaged in partisan efforts in her position as Scientific Integrity Officer.

Ryan Mulvey is Counsel at Cause of Action Institute.