Perchlorate is both a naturally occurring and man-made chemical. It is a critical ingredient in explosives such as rocket fuel and fireworks. Perchlorate may have adverse health effects because it can disrupt the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones needed for normal growth and development. The Scientific Advisory Board of the Environmental Protection Agency is looking at scientific research to determine what – if any – level of perchlorate is safe. Who do you think should be examining that evidence and helping EPA make this decision? I think I would want scientists with both expertise and independence. Read More
Can Journalists and Bloggers Report on Science when Access to Federal Scientists is Still a Challenge?
March 14th, 2013
You have likely heard that science journalism is in decline. No surprises there – one after another we have watched newspapers reduce the number of science beat reporters or announce the closing of their science desks altogether. We have also heard a great deal of debate over what the new on-line sources of information mean for how science is understood. Read More
March 8th, 2013
Four years ago tomorrow, President Obama signed a memorandum for the heads of executive departments and agencies on scientific integrity. He asked the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to confer with them – specifically calling out the Office of Management and Budget – and recommend a plan to achieve the highest level of integrity. Read More
February 26th, 2013
Last Friday Dr. John Holdren, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, released a memo directing the heads of executive departments and agencies to increase access to the results of federally funded scientific research, specifically “the direct results of federally funded scientific research are made available to and useful for the public, industry, and the scientific community. Such results include peer-reviewed publications and digital data.” He tasks agencies with greater than $100 million in annual conduct of research and development expenditures to develop a plan for how to do this in the next six months. Read More
February 22nd, 2013
The buzz is that sometime soon the White House is likely to nominate Gina McCarthy as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. I hope the buzz is right. Read More
December 17th, 2012
Two years ago today, John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, sent a memorandum to government leaders regarding one of the president’s early priorities: creating strong scientific integrity standards within the executive branch in order to prevent political interference in science. Read More
June 13th, 2012
When we write a report at UCS, we make the full methodology and all relevant data that went into the report available, so that others may understand how and why we draw our conclusions. Anyone may review our methods and suggest improvements; in this way, those who read the report can have confidence in our recommendations.
This was especially important with regard to A Climate of Corporate Control, our investigation that examined how leading U.S. companies influence public and policymaker understanding of climate science and support for climate change policy action. We gathered data from a great many sources, including company websites, tax filings, comments on government findings, annual reports, shareholder actions, congressional testimony, leaked documents, and interviews with company executives.
June 5th, 2012
Should scientists at the Food and Drug Administration be able to have honest disputes with their colleagues about the science behind a drug or medical device approval decision? Or should they keep quiet about their concerns, preferring not to rock the boat? Read More
May 16th, 2012
As Earth Day Approaches, Nighttime Images of the Gulf of Mexico Recall the Deepwater Horizon Disaster
April 20th, 2012
Today marks the second anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, the world’s largest accidental release of oil in marine waters. And an interactive—and amazing—nighttime satellite image developed with U.S. government data should remind us of the extent to which we are invested in infrastructure in and around the Gulf of Mexico. Read More