Archives for category: Science

Make no mistake: The Trump administration is at war against science. It has stripped science advisors out of every agency, making sure that the federal government doesn’t make decisions based on evidence.

A note to science teachers: Read the following articles and remember that it is on you to build respect for science and for evidence alive for future generations.

Alan Singer details a long list of specific actions taken by the Trump regime to squelch science in the realm of climate change and public health in this post.

He writes:

Our house is on fire” and the Trump Administration war on science is fanning the flames. In 2019, Donald Trump continued his war against science, public health, the environment and climate awareness On November 4, 2019, two years after Trump announced his intentions, the United States began the official process of withdrawing from 2015 Paris Climate Accord. In September, when sixteen-year old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg delivered an impassioned speech at the United Nations demanding climate action, Trump dismissed her on his twitter account. He cyber-bullied her again after she spoke at a U.N. Climate Action Summit in December.

While withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord was definitely Trump’s most publicized and probably most dastardly attack on the world’s future, his administration and his twitter account also attacked science and environmental safety in the United States during 2019 through smaller, lesser known, but damaging claims and decisions. These are documented on the website Silencing Science Tracker, a joint initiative of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund and at other sources. What follows are some of the Trump Administration low points from 2019 in chronological order. It is a very long list and very frightening.

The New York Times published a long article about the administration’s efforts to eliminate science in every agency where it matters.

Reporters Brad Plumer and Coral Davenport begin their comprehensive story:

In just three years, the Trump administration has diminished the role of science in federal policymaking while halting or disrupting research projects nationwide, marking a transformation of the federal government whose effects, experts say, could reverberate for years.

Political appointees have shut down government studies, reduced the influence of scientists over regulatory decisions and in some cases pressured researchers not to speak publicly. The administration has particularly challenged scientific findings related to the environment and public health opposed by industries such as oil drilling and coal mining. It has also impeded research around human-caused climate change, which President Trump has dismissed despite a global scientific consensus.

But the erosion of science reaches well beyond the environment and climate: In San Francisco, a study of the effects of chemicals on pregnant women has stalled after federal funding abruptly ended. In Washington, D.C., a scientific committee that provided expertise in defending against invasive insects has been disbanded. In Kansas City, Mo., the hasty relocation of two agricultural agencies that fund crop science and study the economics of farming has led to an exodus of employees and delayed hundreds of millions of dollars in research.

“The disregard for expertise in the federal government is worse than it’s ever been,” said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, which has tracked more than 200 reports of Trump administration efforts to restrict or misuse science since 2017. “It’s pervasive.”

Hundreds of scientists, many of whom say they are dismayed at seeing their work undone, are departing.

Among them is Matthew Davis, a biologist whose research on the health risks of mercury to children underpinned the first rules cutting mercury emissions from coal power plants. But last year, with a new baby of his own, he was asked to help support a rollback of those same rules. “I am now part of defending this darker, dirtier future,” he said.

This year, after a decade at the Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. Davis left.

“Regulations come and go, but the thinning out of scientific capacity in the government will take a long time to get back,” said Joel Clement, a former top climate-policy expert at the Interior Department who quit in 2017 after being reassigned to a job collecting oil and gas royalties. He is now at the Union of Concerned Scientists, an advocacy group.

Mr. Trump has consistently said that government regulations have stifled businesses and thwarted some of the administration’s core goals, such as increasing fossil-fuel production. Many of the starkest confrontations with federal scientists have involved issues like environmental oversight and energy extraction — areas where industry groups have argued that regulators have gone too far in the past.

“Businesses are finally being freed of Washington’s overreach, and the American economy is flourishing as a result,” a White House statement said last year. Asked about the role of science in policymaking, officials from the White House declined to comment on the record.

The administration’s efforts to cut certain research projects also reflect a longstanding conservative position that some scientific work can be performed cost-effectively by the private sector, and taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to foot the bill. “Eliminating wasteful spending, some of which has nothing to do with studying the science at all, is smart management, not an attack on science,” two analysts at the conservative Heritage Foundation wrote in 2017 of the administration’s proposals to eliminate various climate change and clean energy programs.

Industry groups have expressed support for some of the moves, including a contentious E.P.A. proposal to put new constraints on the use of scientific studies in the name of transparency. The American Chemistry Council, a chemical trade group, praised the proposal by saying, “The goal of providing more transparency in government and using the best available science in the regulatory process should be ideals we all embrace.”

In some cases, the administration’s efforts to roll back government science have been thwarted. Each year, Mr. Trump has proposed sweeping budget cuts at a variety of federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. But Congress has the final say over budget levels and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have rejected the cuts.

For instance, in supporting funding for the Department of Energy’s national laboratories, Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, recently said, “it allows us to take advantage of the United States’ secret weapon, our extraordinary capacity for basic research.”

As a result, many science programs continue to thrive, including space exploration at NASA and medical research at the National Institutes of Health, where the budget has increased more than 12 percent since Mr. Trump took office and where researchers continue to make advances in areas like molecular biology and genetics.

Nevertheless, in other areas, the administration has managed to chip away at federal science.

At the E.P.A., for instance, staffing has fallen to its lowest levels in at least a decade. More than two-thirds of respondents to a survey of federal scientists across 16 agencies said that hiring freezes and departures made it harder to conduct scientific work. And in June, the White House ordered agencies to cut by one-third the number of federal advisory boards that provide technical advice.

The White House said it aimed to eliminate committees that were no longer necessary. Panels cut so far had focused on issuesincluding invasive species and electric grid innovation.

At a time when the United States is pulling back from world leadership in other areas like human rights or diplomatic accords, experts warn that the retreat from science is no less significant. Many of the achievements of the past century that helped make the United States an envied global power, including gains in life expectancy, lowered air pollution and increased farm productivity are the result of the kinds of government research now under pressure.

“When we decapitate the government’s ability to use science in a professional way, that increases the risk that we start making bad decisions, that we start missing new public health risks,” said Wendy E. Wagner, a professor of law at the University of Texas at Austin who studies the use of science by policymakers.

Skirmishes over the use of science in making policy occur in all administrations: Industries routinely push back against health studies that could justify stricter pollution rules, for example. And scientists often gripe about inadequate budgets for their work. But many experts say that current efforts to challenge research findings go well beyond what has been done previously.

In an article published in the journal Science last year, Ms. Wagner wrote that some of the Trump administration’s moves, like a policy to restrict certain academics from the E.P.A.’s Science Advisory Board or the proposal to limit the types of research that can be considered by environmental regulators, “mark a sharp departure with the past.” Rather than isolated battles between political officials and career experts, she said, these moves are an attempt to legally constrain how federal agencies use science in the first place.

Some clashes with scientists have sparked public backlash, as when Trump officials pressured the nation’s weather forecasting agency to support the president’s erroneous assertion this year that Hurricane Dorian threatened Alabama.

But others have garnered little notice despite their significance.

This year, for instance, the National Park Service’s principal climate change scientist, Patrick Gonzalez, received a “cease and desist” letter from supervisors after testifying to Congress about the risks that global warming posed to national parks.

“I saw it as attempted intimidation,” said Dr. Gonzalez, who added that he was speaking in his capacity as an associate adjunct professor at the University California, Berkeley, a position he also holds. “It’s interference with science and hinders our work.”

Even though Congress hasn’t gone along with Mr. Trump’s proposals for budget cuts at scientific agencies, the administration has still found ways to advance its goals.

One strategy: eliminate individual research projects not explicitly protected by Congress.

For example, just months after Mr. Trump’s election, the Commerce Department disbanded a 15-person scientific committee that had explored how to make National Climate Assessments, the congressionally mandated studies of the risks of climate change, more useful to local officials. It also closed its Office of the Chief Economist, which for decades had conducted wide-ranging research on topics like the economic effects of natural disasters. Similarly, the Interior Department has withdrawn funding for its Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, 22 regional research centers that tackled issues like habitat loss and wildfire management. While California and Alaska used state money to keep their centers open, 16 of 22 remain in limbo.

A Commerce Department official said the climate committee it discontinued had not produced a report, and highlighted other efforts to promote science, such as a major upgrade of the nation’s weather models.

An Interior Department official said the agency’s decisions “are solely based on the facts and grounded in the law,” and that the agency would continue to pursue other partnerships to advance conservation science.

Research that potentially posed an obstacle to Mr. Trump’s promise to expand fossil-fuel production was halted, too. In 2017, Interior officials canceled a $1 million study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on the health risks of “mountaintop removal” coal mining in places like West Virginia.

Mountaintop removal is as dramatic as it sounds — a hillside is blasted with explosives and the remains are excavated — but the health consequences still aren’t fully understood. The process can kick up coal dust and send heavy metals into waterways, and a number of studies have suggested links to health problems like kidney disease and birth defects.

“The industry was pushing back on these studies,” said Joseph Pizarchik, an Obama-era mining regulator who commissioned the now-defunct study. “We didn’t know what the answer would be,” he said, “but we needed to know: Was the government permitting coal mining that was poisoning people, or not?”

While coal mining has declined in recent years, satellite data showsthat at least 60 square miles in Appalachia have been newly mined since 2016. “The study is still as important today as it was five years ago,” Mr. Pizarchik said.

The cuts can add up to significant research setbacks.

For years, the E.P.A. and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences had jointly funded 13 children’s health centers nationwide that studied, among other things, the effects of pollution on children’s development. This year, the E.P.A. ended its funding.

At the University of California, San Francisco, one such center has been studying how industrial chemicals such as flame retardants in furniture could affect placenta and fetal development. Key aspects of the research have now stopped.

“The longer we go without funding, the harder it is to start that research back up,” said Tracey Woodruff, who directs the center.

In a statement, the E.P.A. said it anticipated future opportunities to fund children’s health research.

At the Department of Agriculture, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced in June he would relocate two key research agencies to Kansas City from Washington: The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a scientific agency that funds university research on topics like how to breed cattle and corn that can better tolerate drought conditions, and the Economic Research Service, whose economists produce studies for policymakers on farming trends, trade and rural America.

Nearly 600 employees had less than four months to decide whether to uproot and move. Most couldn’t or wouldn’t, and two-thirds of those facing transfer left their jobs.

In August, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, appeared to celebrate the departures.

“It’s nearly impossible to fire a federal worker,” he said in videotaped remarks at a Republican Party gala in South Carolina. “But by simply saying to people, ‘You know what, we’re going to take you outside the bubble, outside the Beltway, outside this liberal haven of Washington, D.C., and move you out in the real part of the country,’ and they quit. What a wonderful way to sort of streamline government and do what we haven’t been able to do for a long time.”

The White House declined to comment on Mr. Mulvaney’s speech.

The exodus has led to upheaval.

At the Economic Research Service, dozens of planned studies into topics like dairy industry consolidation and pesticide use have been delayed or disrupted. “You can name any topic in agriculture and we’ve lost an expert,” said Laura Dodson, an economist and acting vice president of the union representing agency employees.

We live in an era where ignorance and stupidity are valued more than evidence and scientific inquiry.

If this continues, our society will go backwards, and our climate–the air we breathe, the water we drink, the oceans and the climate that sustains life–will be jeopardized.

We are an endangered species, endangered by ignorance.

Vicki Cobb is a very successful author of children’s books and is active in promoting children’s interest in reading and in science.

She writes here about a wonderful FREE resource for children.

No catch.

Wonderful reading online at no cost.

She begins (open the link to read it all!):

In my recent post Why Education Should Always Be Nonprofit I examined some opportunities for corruption.  First, in the building of fortunes, like oil,  but also in the establishment of for-profit schools where money is siphoned off by realtors and administrators.  The product of education is not a commodity that generates enormous wealth,  like oil, but a human being who is capable of contributing to society.  So where’s the payoff for the individual for-profit investor in the school?  It’s certainly not in the production of educated individuals. Society at large benefits from that investment.

So I started a nonprofit organization to bring the work of the most talented children’s nonfiction authors to the classroom.  To that end, in 2014 we started publishing the Nonfiction Minute, a FREE daily posting of 400-word essays by top children’s nonfiction authors.  An audio file accompanies each Minute so that the more challenged readers have access to our content.  Millions of page-views later, we caught the eye of Paul Langhorst, the executive of SchoolTube.  And today, we have something new to celebrate:  We are launching The Nonfiction Minute Channel on School Tube.  Each post is the audio file of the author reading his/her Minute and is illustrated with art in a slide show.  Paul Langhorst, told me that teachers have been asking for more on quality reading and writing, so here we are. There are links on the School Tube post to the Nonfiction Minute archives so students can read the text of the Nonfiction Minutes if they are so inclined.   

Evgeny Morozov writes about the political and social implications of technology.

In this fascinating article, Morozov reveals and condemns the moral and intellectual vacuity of the leaders of the tech sector.

For all the growing skepticism about Silicon Valley, many still believe that the digital revolution has a serious intellectual dimension, hashed out at conferences like Ted, online salons like Edge.org, publications like Wired, and institutions like the MIT Media Lab. The ideas of the digerati might be wrong, they might be overly utopian, but, at least, they are sincere.

The Epstein scandal – including the latest revelation that Epstein might have channeled up to $8m (some of it, apparently, on behalf of Bill Gates) to the MIT Media Lab, while its executives were fully aware of his problematic background – has cast the digerati in a very different light. It has already led to the resignation of the lab’s director, Joi Ito.

This, however, is not only a story of individuals gone rogue. The ugly collective picture of the techno-elites that emerges from the Epstein scandal reveals them as a bunch of morally bankrupt opportunists. To treat their ideas as genuine but wrong is too generous; the only genuine thing about them is their fakeness. Big tech and its apologists do produce the big thoughts – alas, mostly accidental byproducts of them chasing the big bucks.

It wasn’t meant to be that way. Back in 1991, John Brockman – the world’s most successful digital impresario, and, until recently, my literary agent – was touting the emergence of the “third culture” that would finally replace the technophobic literary intellectuals with those coming from the world of science and technology. “The emergence of the third culture introduces new modes of intellectual discourse and reaffirms the pre-eminence of America in the realm of important ideas,” wrote Brockman in a much-discussed essay.

Please read the rest of this article.

If all facts are subjective and dependent on religious and personal views, there is no such thing as fact, truth, objectivity or science.

Ohio’s dumb Republican-controlled legislature isn’t on the verge of passing a law that puts religious belief and science on the same plane.

So it is not surprising that believers in a Flat Earth are on the rise., according to CNN.They can’t find proof that the world is round, so they don’t believe it, even though you can see the curve of the earth’s surface from an airplane window at 35,000 feet, even though astronauts and satellites have taken pictures from outer space of the earth as a sphere.

Faked photos, say the Flat Earthers.

Is stupidity contagious?

Or does it flow from the top?

We are entering into a strange era where religious belief is being permitted to trump scientific fact.

Ohio legislators in the House passed legislation allowing students to receive credit for wrong answers on science tests if their answer is based on their religious beliefs.

Does anyone think that actions such as this one will prepare students to live and thrive in the modern world? Will students so ill prepared with knowledge and understanding of the scientific method be prepared for careers in science, engineering or technology or any other field that requires a firm grasp of evidence and reality? Will they even know how to think critically about history and current affairs?

Every Republican in the House supported the bill. It now moves to the Republican-controlled Senate.

The Ohio legislature is also enthusiastic about charter schools and vouchers.

Former Governor John Kasich presents himself to a national audience as a “moderate” but it was under his leadership that this kind of zealotry took root in Ohio.

 

 

The federal government has an important role in the support and advancement of science. Science should be free of political influence. Decision making should not be based on partisanship.

Yet, as science professor John Richard Schrock shows, politics have often intruded on decisions about which policies to fund and what to make public. He cites bad decisions over the years under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

But nothing in the past equals the Trump administration’s open was against science. Trump has placed non-scientists into key roles, where they are able to suppress or manipulate scientific findings to satisfy his po,itical base. His much-ridiculed effort to compel the National Weather Service to defend his absurd claims about the likely path of a hurricane were a small example of his efforts to suppress science in the Environmental Protection Administration, the Agriculture Department, and other agencies. While the rest of the world worries about climate change, Trump insists that there is no threat and that what scientists call climate change is merely the weather, about which we can do nothing.

In addition to teaching science, teachers must teach the ethics of science, the importance of reaching conclusions based on evidence, and the necessity of excluding politics from the work of scientists.

Jack Hassard Taught science education for many years. He used to write a blog called “The Art of Teaching Science,” but became so upset about current events that he renamed his blog “Jack Hassard’s Blog.”

In this post, he excoriates Trump’s war on science.

He begins:

Science was under assault last week by an un-educated President and his staff who believe that they can supercede the findings of science when the findings don’t agree with their personal and political views.

When Hurricane Harvey inflicted its wrath on Houston and most of East Texas, I painted an art series of 4 canvases showing how hurricanes harm not only property, but the people who endure the storm. This may be a family or community of friends who are wading through flooded streets to find shelter. I believe that science should be in the service of people. In this case, it was in the service of these people by providing the most up-to-date forecast, and warnings about the storm and its aftermath. When narcissistic politicians intrude into the nature of how science is done, they corrupt the findings, and lend support to the distrust of science and scientists.

Assault on Science

Science has been under assault during the entire period of time Trump has been in office. Scientists in several departments, especially the EPA, and Commerce Dept. have come under dire consequences because of the administration’s anti-science views, and their attempt to oversee and obstruct the process of science.

It’s not the first time. Republicans have had a field day trying to influence the nature of the science that is produced by United States government agencies. Chris Mooney documented this in his book, The Republican War on Science, published 2005, midstream in the George W. Bush administration. In Bush’s assault on science, the principle underpinning of his war was to please political and religious groups.

In Trump’s case, not only has politics and religion played a part, but the most egregious sin committed by Trump is his form of narcissism that is of the loud kind. He brags, he boasts, I’m smart, I’m really smart, he insults, and is obsessed with numbers (see Craig Malkin’s chapter, Pathological Narcissism and Politics in The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, edited by Bandy Lee, M.D.). Trump simply can never be wrong or corrected because he’s such an “extremely stable genius.”

Wired.com reports that the House Science Committee will no longer be controlled by science know-nothings.

FOR THE PAST eight years, climate science has been under a sort of spell in the House of Representatives. Instead of trying to understand it better or even acknowledging some of the field’s current uncertainties, House Science Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) used his position to harass federal climate scientists with subpoenas while holding hearings on “Making the EPA Great Again” or whether “global warming theories are alarmist” and researchers are pursuing a “personal agenda.”

But Smith retired this year and Democrats won control of the House on Tuesday. Now some on Capitol Hill say that the anti-climate science spell may be broken.

“Hopefully we will no longer see the science committee used as a messaging tool for the fossil fuel industry,” says Rep. Bill Foster, an Illinois Democrat and science committee member. “I look forward to hearings with a balance of witnesses that reflect mainstream scientific hearings instead of a small group of industry players.”

Foster, who was a particle physicist before being elected to Congress in 2008, said he also wants to see more appearances from cabinet members like Energy Secretary Rick Perry or EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to explain both their budget and their rulemaking on environmental and science issues. Neither agency head was called before Smith’s committee during his tenure, Foster says.

This is good news. The Trump administration is an embarrassment, but at least the House Science Committee will not be.

Good to have rationality and learning in one of the seats of power.

Jack Hassard, professor of science education in Georgia, has discovered a wonderful new science educator with great ideas for the Atlanta Public Schools, and they don’t cost a dime.

Veteran education guru Ed Johnson has some tips on how to put science at the center of the elementary school curriculum. His plan calls for using nature, exploring, seeing, touching, paying attention, learning the science that is right in front of you.

Hassard quotes Johnson’s advice to the school board:

Atlanta Public Schools superintendent Meria Carstarphen has blogged good news: Let’s Play! Every APS Elementary School Gets a Playground! She recaps that, as a consequence of the school board having decided to provide for schools to be more equitable operationally, nine of ten priority elementary schools now have a playground ready for back-to-school. In addition, she reports that a playground at the tenth priority elementary school, Beecher Hills Elementary, is under construction and that the planning process there includes working with a City of Atlanta arborist. Great!
So, speaking of Beecher Hills Elementary School…

One of several points of entry onto a system of greenway trails is right next to the gated entry to Beecher Hills Elementary. It is at that entry point to the trails that I sometimes start and end a walk-run. Being out there to emerge in the surroundings and to be open to The Universe always proves a way to more fully engage the senses, and to renew. What am I seeing? Hearing? Feeling? Smelling? Tasting? One the most engaging times out on the trails occurred during a torrential downpour, and I got soaking wet. Still, the rain provided a very different learning context and experience I had not before imagined.

The greenway trails effectively extend Beecher Hills Elementary School’s backyard. And because they do, I often think it would be magical to be a kid at Beecher with freedom to play and learn in and from that extended backyard.

The point of entry to the greenway trails at Beecher Hills Elementary lies adjacent to the school’s front driveway. From that entry point the greenway meanders northward and down the westward side of the hill upon which the school sits. Then the greenway curves eastward along a fence behind the school before curving northward and connecting with an east-west trail just beyond having crossed a creek.

Environments outside the classroom for students to explore and learn.

Out Beecher’s back doors and down the hill, the fence encloses an expansive green field just begging to be played on. The field catches my eye, every time. It always invites me to pause and wonder what would kids do if let loose upon it? What sort of games would they innovate and play? What sort of learning would they innovate and personalize and internalize for themselves? What sort of questions would the kids ask prompted by observations they would have made? Would they even ask questions, having been trained to give only answers à la standardized teaching, learning, and testing? Would teachers run themselves ragged trying to control the kids’ play? How would teachers deal with kids’ questions, especially questions lacking answers?

And then I think, hmm, nighttime. Hardly any surrounding light! Look up, “billions and billions!” –thanks, Carol Sagan! And, of course, thanks, too, to that astrophysicist guy Neil Degree Tyson who claims “All I did was drive the getaway car” when Pluto got knocked off. So, yep, a telescope, right in the center of the field out back Beecher Hills Elementary School. Can’t you just imagine?!

Now there is a radical and innovative idea: Let the children play! Let them learn the lessons right in front of them! Let them understand that science is part of life and they are living in its midst.

While most of us were transfixed by the drama surrounding the U.S. Supreme Court, the Trump Administration was busy eliminating the role of science in the federal Environmental Protection Administration. In the Trump administration, the work of dismantling environmental protection, public education, civil rights, and every progressive policy of the past century goes on daily, without delay, even as the far-right evangelicals secure the fifth seat on the Supreme Court to assure that their actions will never lose in court.

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency plans to dissolve its Office of the Science Advisor, a senior post that was created to counsel the E.P.A. administrator on the scientific research underpinning health and environmental regulations, according to a person familiar with the agency’s plans. The person spoke anonymously because the decision had not yet been made public.

The science adviser works across the agency to ensure that the highest quality science is integrated into the agency’s policies and decisions, according to the E.P.A.’s website. The move is the latest among several steps taken by the Trump administration that appear to have diminished the role of scientific research in policymaking while the administration pursues an agenda of rolling back regulations.

Asked about the E.P.A.’s plans, John Konkus, a spokesman for the agency, emailed a prepared statement from the science adviser, Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, in which she described the decision to dissolve the office as one that would “combine offices with similar functions” and “eliminate redundancies.”

In an email, Dr. Orme-Zavaleta referred questions to the E.P.A.’s public affairs office.

Dr. Orme-Zavaleta is an expert on the risks of chemicals to human health who has worked at the E.P.A. since 1981, according to the agency’s website. It was unclear whether she would remain at the E.P.A. once the decision takes effect.

Separately, on Tuesday, in an unusual move, the E.P.A. placed the head of its Office of Children’s Health, Dr. Ruth Etzel, on administrative leave, while declining to give a reason for the move. Agency officials told Dr. Etzel, a respected pediatric epidemiologist, that the move was not disciplinary. As the head of an office that regularly pushed to tighten regulations on pollution, which can affect children more powerfully than adults, Dr. Etzel had clashed multiple times with Trump administration appointees who sought to loosen pollution rules.

Michael Mikulka, who heads a union representing about 900 E.P.A. employees, said, “Clearly, this is an attempt to silence voices whether it’s in the agency’s Office of Children’s Health or the Office of the Science Advisor to kill career civil servants’ input and scientific perspectives on rule-making.”

The changes at the two offices, which both report directly to the head of the E.P.A., come as the agency’s acting administrator, Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, is overseeing a reorganization of the agency.

After dissolving the office of the scientific adviser, Mr. Wheeler plans to merge the position into an office that reports to the E.P.A.’s Deputy Assistant Administrator for Science, a demotion that would put at least two more managerial layers between the E.P.A.’s chief scientist and its top decision maker.

“It’s certainly a pretty big demotion, a pretty big burying of this office,” said Michael Halpern, the deputy director of the Center for Science and Democracy with the Union of Concerned Scientists, an advocacy group. “Everything from research on chemicals and health, to peer-review testing to data analysis would inevitably suffer,” he said.

The move comes after several months in which the leaders of the E.P.A. have systematically changed how the E.P.A. treats science. The agency’s previous administrator, Scott Pruitt, who resigned in July amid allegations of ethical violations, in April proposed a regulation that would limit the types of scientific research that E.P.A. officials could take into account when writing new public health policies, a change that could weaken the agency’s ability to protect public health.

Last year, Mr. Pruitt significantly altered two major scientific panels that advise the E.P.A. on writing public health rules, restricting academic researchers from joining the boards while appointing several scientists who work for industries regulated by the E.P.A.