Stefanik questions dismissal of EPA science counselors

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro (Official photo)

WASHINGTON — North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik was one of more than 70 congressional representatives who helped to draft a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt concerning the recent dismissal of several members of the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors.

Earlier this month, half of the scientists on the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors were dismissed. The Board of Scientific Counselors helps to ensure EPA research and regulations are grounded in credible scientific evidence.

“It’s critical that the EPA continues to use the highest quality research when making policy decisions, and the recent dismissal of these Members of the Board of Scientific Counselors is very concerning,” Stefanik, R-Willsboro, said in a statement Friday. “As the proud representative of the Adirondacks, we rely on the important work being done by the EPA to protect our nation’s ecological treasures, and I urge Administrator Pruitt to maintain the highest scientific standards at this important agency.”

Human trafficking

On Thursday, Stefanik co-sponsored a bill that would use schools to fight human trafficking.

Entitled the “Empowering Educators to Prevent Trafficking Act,” the legislation would make school districts and local education groups eligible to receive grant funding to train their teachers, administrators, school nurses, campus security and other staff to recognize signs that a student is a victim or potential victim of trafficking.

“The heinous crime of human trafficking is far too prevalent, and we must continue to aggressively combat this epidemic,” Stefanik said in a statement. “Each year, hundreds of thousands are trafficked in the United States, and roughly half of them are children. This important legislation would give our educators the necessary resources to recognize the signs of trafficking so that victims can get the help they need.”

The Empower Educators to Prevent Trafficking Act has been endorsed by the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, Polaris Project, the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking, and ECPAT-USA (Ending Child Slavery at the Source).