By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory and legal issues, ARTBA

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Feb. 12 upheld actions by former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator E. Scott Pruitt regarding how the agency selects its own scientific advisory boards.

In 2017, Pruitt issued new guidelines for nominees to the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), Science Advisory Board (SAB) and Board of Scientific Counselors. Under the policy, board members are no longer able to receive EPA grants, a move designed to ensure more independence on the panels.

In a lawsuit, anti-growth groups argued the policy is “arbitrary and capricious.” The court dismissed their complaint, however, ruling that EPA is within the scope of its own authority to make such changes.

ARTBA deals most often with the CASAC. We have submitted numerous comments to the panel over the years regarding the Clean Air Act’s (CAA) National Ambient Air Quality Standards. This is important for transportation construction because counties not meeting CAA standards can have their federal highway funds withheld.