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Trump order to reduce the number of scientific advisory committees criticized as "absurd"

President Donald Trump signed a decree last Friday to reduce by one third the number of government advisory committees across federal agencies. This decision, which according to the White House, is long overdue and is necessary to ensure proper management of taxpayer money.

Critics, however, said it was the Trump administration's latest effort to undermine science-based, evidence-based decision-making.

"This is another example of how the Trump administration is disconnected from the needs of the American people and how to protect them from harm," said Mustafa Ali, who resigned in 2017 as Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice. to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Advisory Committee experts, which were formalized in 1972 by the Federal Advisory Committees Act (FACA), provide the executive branch with information on issues such as the disposal of high-level nuclear waste. depletion of atmospheric ozone, AIDS, drug addiction and school improvement. and housing.

For the past two years, the administration has "reduced and restricted the role of federal science advisory committees," said Gretchen Goldman, director of research at the Center for Science and Democracy of the Union of Concerned Scientists in a statement. "Now they are eliminating the possibility of making decisions based on solid scientific advice.It's no longer death by a thousand cuts." It's a stab at the jugular. "

Judd Deere, deputy press secretary for the White House, told NBC News by email that these cuts were long overdue.

"No government has reviewed FACA committees since 1993, and the President believes that it is time to re-examine and eliminate those that are irrelevant and that provide valuable services for that we can handle taxpayers' money well, Deere wrote.

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