The ExxonMobil Protection Agency

SmokestackThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allowed an ExxonMobil employee "to peer review the science behind the agency's proposal to deregulate incineration of some industrial by-products," reports Integrity in Science, a project of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The peer review was overseen by an EPA contractor, Syracuse Research Corporation (SRC). The ExxonMobil employee, Thomas Parkerton, told SRC that his "current employer (and the chemical industry in general) would benefit from" the proposed rule, yet he was allowed to review it, in an apparent breach of EPA guidelines. The rule would allow more than 107,000 tons of hazardous waste burned annually in specially-designed incinerators to instead be disposed of in industrial boilers or municipal incinerators. Consumer and environmental groups decried the "undue agency tolerance of conflicts of interest in its rulemaking process," and urged the EPA to "re-review the science and, if necessary, rewrite the proposed rule."