CREW sent a letter to the Inspector General of the Environmental Protection Agency requesting that he investigate whether Deputy Assistant Administrator Nancy Beck improperly participated in a rulemaking from which she should have recused herself, and review the determination by EPA’s ethics office that she may fully participate in the rulemaking and similar matters in the future despite her apparent conflicts of interest.
Prior to her EPA appointment, Dr. Beck was a top official at the American Chemistry Council (“ACC”), meaning that she is subject to conflict of interest and impartiality rules for matters involving the ACC and its members. However, during Dr. Beck’s first few months at EPA she was “very involved” in EPA rulemakings that concerned proposed chemical risk evaluation and prioritization regulations she had advocated for during her time at the ACC. It appears she participated in meetings, discussions, and decisions involving the ACC’s comments on those proposed regulations.
In June, the ethics official at the EPA authorized her to fully participate in rulemaking matters involving the ACC — including decisions related to the ACC’s comments — despite the apparent conflict of interest. For this reason an OIG review is needed to determine whether the ethics official gave appropriate consideration to all the relevant factors in deciding that EPA’s interest in her full participation outweighs concerns over the integrity of its programs and operations.
These conflict of interest concerns call into question the integrity of the decision-making process and the credibility of the program, and whether Dr. Beck was acting in the interest of the American people or the industry that formerly employed her.