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By a Third

President Donald Trump issued an executive order last week directing federal agencies to slash the number of board and advisory committees that contribute to their rule-making processes, the Hill reports. It adds that critics say this will reduce the scientific oversight of regulations.

"The decision is disappointing to anyone who cares about evidence-based policy making, scientific review, or the truth," Carol Browner, who led the Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton Administration, tells the Hill. "Engaging a range of outside advisors has served EPA well." 

The executive order instructs agencies to eliminate a third of their boards and advisory committees, which the Hill says means some 462 committees could be cut. Agencies, it adds, are to assess which committees to keep based on their cost, level of activity, and whether their subject matter has "become obsolete." The order further caps the number of committees at 350, government-wide.

"The things you are worried about are that complex decisions deserve to have the best experts and scientists convening," Gina McCarthy, who was EPA chief during the Obama Administration, adds at the Hill. "While the agencies have terrific people, they don't necessarily have the breadth of expertise they need."