Michael Halpern

Deputy director, Center for Science & Democracy

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Michael Halpern is an expert on political interference in science and solutions to reduce suppression, manipulation, and distortion of government science. See Michael's full bio.

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Scott Pruitt’s EPA Grant Ban Doesn’t Apply to States or Tribes. Here’s Why That’s Interesting.

This afternoon, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that nobody who receives an EPA grant should be allowed to provide scientific advice to the agency. Yep—those scientists, the ones that the EPA thinks do the most promising research related to public health and the environment? Their advice isn’t welcome anymore. We’ve written a lot about how this represents a major step in the political takeover of science advice at EPA. Read more >

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The EPA Science Advisory Board Is Being Compromised. Here’s Why That Matters.

Nothing good happens when independent experts are replaced by people who have financial incentives to skew the scientific analysis in the direction of the companies they represent. Read more >

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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Accelerates Politicization of Agency’s Science Advisory Board

Earlier today, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt strongly suggested that the agency will not consider any candidate for EPA’s science advisory committees who has received a grant from the agency. Such a gobsmackingly boneheaded move would further hamstring the ability of the EPA to accomplish its public health mission. The administrator is directly challenging the intent of Congress, which established the Science Advisory Board to provide independent scientific advice so that EPA can effectively protect our health and environment. Read more >

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Photo: Taber Andrew Bain/CC BY (Flickr)

Remembering Herb Needleman—The Hero Who Got Lead Out of Gasoline

Dr. Herb Needleman, a Pittsburgh pediatrician whose pioneering research into the toxic effects of lead on children led to the removal of lead from gasoline and other products, died last week at the age of 89. He was a tireless advocate for children’s health in the face of persistent attacks on his work and integrity from the lead industry. A decade ago, he showed up in my life in a pretty unexpected way. Read more >

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Lamar Smith and Selective Transparency: Why I’ll Be Livetweeting the EPA Scientific Integrity Stakeholder Meeting

For the past few years, the Environmental Protection Agency has held a meeting with outside groups to discuss its annual scientific integrity report. All kinds of organizations have attended in the past, from the American Chemistry Council (which represents chemical companies) to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (which represents scientists) to the American Lung Association (which represents people who breathe). They’re all invited again to this year’s meeting on June 14. Read more >

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