by Malia Zimmerman

Scientists on a key panel handpicked by the Environmental Protection Agency to green-light new environmental emissions regulations have received nearly $200 million in grants from the agency, according to a federal lawsuit which charges the past funding calls into question the objectivity of the process.

The Energy & Environment Legal Institute, a Washington-based nonprofit, claims tough new EPA regulations that critics say would cost the industry trillions of dollars and thousands of jobs are being waved through by scientists dependent on the federal agency. Of the 26 members appointed to the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee Particulate Matter Review Panel, 24 received direct or indirect grants from the EPA totaling more than $190 million claims the institute’s lawyer.

“This clearly violates the law and makes a mockery of the notion of ‘independent’ scientific review,” Energy and Environment Legal Institute General Counsel Steve Milloy said.

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