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Virginia Supreme Court Unanimously Supports Academic Freedom at the University of Virginia

The Supreme Court of Virginia today found unanimously in favor of the University of Virginia in its attempt to protect its employees from unwarranted intrusions into their privacy through the commonwealth’s Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA). In doing so, the Court rebuffed efforts by the American Tradition Institute (ATI) to gain access to the private correspondence of UVa researchers. The Court’s decision signals to scientists at public universities that the pursuit of scientific knowledge will be protected in Virginia, no matter how their research results might be received. Read More

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Spring Brings Hope–Even about Transparency and Accountability in Government

There is some good, albeit modest, news about the Food and Drug Administration and the way the agency addresses conflicts of interest on FDA advisory panels that consider the safety and efficacy of drugs and medical devices. Read More

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The EPA, Human Studies, and Getting the Science Right

A few months ago, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology took interest in a small piece of the tremendous amount of research—and funding of research—that EPA does on air pollution and its health effects. What were the lawmakers concerned about? Read More

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Second Chance: Will EPA’s New Ozone Standard Follow the Science?

This week the EPA’s Clean Air Science Advisory Committee (CASAC) meets to discuss the science behind the national air pollution standard for ozone. The independent committee, which is comprised of air pollution and public health experts from a variety of institutions outside of the EPA, meets regularly to discuss the science on air pollution and health and to make recommendations to EPA on its air pollution rules. But this meeting in particular has greater interest from scientists, industry, and the public. Read More

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A Conspiracy Theory Researcher Falls Victim to Conspiracy Theories: Intimidated Journal to Retract Lewandowsky Paper

A social science journal will soon retract a paper not because the research is flawed but because the journal fears being exposed to legal risks under antiquated (and since corrected) British libel law, according to Desmogblog and the paper’s lead author. Such a retraction would reflect badly on the journal and may set a terrible precedent. Papers should be withdrawn based on significant concerns with the quality of the research, not based on threats.
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Ohio’s Clean Energy Standards Still Under Attack by Fossil Fuel Special Interests

The latest good news about clean energy in Ohio is that the state ranks #8 in the nation for solar jobs. But despite this, 2014 has not ushered in a new era of civility or honest debate about the merits of Ohio’s clean energy standards that require a percentage of Ohio’s electricity demand be met with renewable energy and energy efficiency. Instead, Bill Seitz, chair of the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee, started off the 2014 legislative session right where he left of last year: with misguided efforts to roll back Ohio’s successful clean energy policies. Read More

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An Update on Scientific Integrity in Canada, and How Scientists In Other Countries Can Help

In recent years, many Canadians have become more and more concerned about political interference in the work of Canadian government scientists, and a new report from PIPSC, the employee union that represents many of these scientists, provides little comfort that the situation will improve anytime soon. UCS has developed an open letter that allows non-Canadian scientists to show support for their Canadian government peers. You can read the letter and sign it here. Read More

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Scientific Integrity, Beetles, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Yesterday, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) released the partially-redacted results of two investigations into the conduct of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) managers, which found significant violations of scientific integrity. The cases raise questions not only as to how scientific integrity investigations will be carried out and publicly reported by the Department of Interior, but also how the violators and those who report the violations will be treated. Read More

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Thanks to You, We Won The “Sound Science” Battle

Yesterday, I was feeling both cynical and depressed about the state of affairs in Washington. The farm bill had been approved, but certainly it wasn’t the ideal. While urging passing of the bill, our Food and Environment program, while appreciative of some of the progress it made, acknowledged its limitations and its unfulfilled potential. Many of us also are keenly aware that food stamp cuts of billions of dollars may compromise the well-being of tens of thousands of American families. Read More

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West Virginia Scientists to EPA, CDC: Allow Your Scientists to Speak

UPDATE: See responses below from CDC and EPA officials.

This morning, two dozen West Virginia scientists wrote to the CDC and EPA to urge the two agencies to give more freedom to their scientists to communicate with the press and public, especially during emergencies like the ongoing water contamination crisis affecting hundreds of thousands of West Virginians. Read More

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