The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday appointed Francesca Grifo as the agency’s official in charge of scientific integrity.

In addition to overseeing the scientific integrity program, Grifo will chair an internal committee that deals with issues of standards, transparency and scientific freedom.

In 2009 President Obama issued a directive that ordered federal agencies to refocus on science and remove political pressure from science policy.

The EPA, which incorporates scientific analysis into its regulations, frequently comes under fire for decisions opposed by industry and challenged by other scientists.

Grifo has been a senior scientist and director of the Scientific Integrity Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a watchdog group that closely monitors issues of scientific integrity.

Grifo previously directed the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation graduate policy workshop at Columbia University and was director of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation and a curator of the Hall of Biodiversity at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

She earned a doctorate in botany from Cornell University and a bachelor's degree in biology from Smith College.

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