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Is EPA Excessively Restricting Access to its Science Advisory Board Members?

UCS learned recently that at a closed-door meeting of the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) on July 24, the EPA put forward a new memorandum from EPA Chief of Staff Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming that seems to extend free speech restrictions to independent scientists who advise the agency. The memo is written in a way that could discourage scientists from informing public discussion around important topics. Read More

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Los Alamos Firing Demonstrates Exactly What’s Wrong with Scientific Integrity at the Department of Energy

Yesterday, my colleague Lisbeth Gronlund wrote about the unjust firing of James Doyle, a 17-year employee of Los Alamos National Laboratory. The PhD political scientist was fired over an academic article he wrote on his personal time—not as an official representative of the national lab—that argued for eliminating nuclear weapons. Read More

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The Endangered Species Act under Attack: Science, Politics, and the Real Meaning of Transparency

The cartoon below has never been more appropriate. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is attacked by political interests with some regularity, but the current proposal from the House Natural Resources Committee threatens to halt much of the science-based work that the law has enabled. Read More

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“Hide No Harm” Bill Will Tip the Balance in Favor of Science and Safety over Corporate Profits

On July 16, Senators Richard Blumenthal (CT), Tom Harkin (IA) and Robert Casey (PA) introduced S. 2615, the “Hide No Harm Act.” Their legislation would impose criminal penalties—fines and even imprisonment—on corporate executives if they knowingly failed to warn the public about life-threatening dangers in their products. Read More

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GOP State Senator Defends Marijuana Researcher Fired by the University of Arizona

Arizona State Senator Ethan Orr (R-Tucson) is defending Suzanne Sisley, a University of Arizona marijuana researcher who was abruptly fired on Friday. Dr. Sisley claims that although no reason was given for her dismissal, university administrators confronted her earlier this year after she was highly critical of other state legislators who had blocked state funding of her research. Read More

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Dear Surgeon General: We’re Fed Up, Let’s Act on Sugar

When I was a child, I would read the ingredients on food packages. Nearly every package I picked up began with the same ingredient. “What’s high fructose corn syrup?” I asked my Mom.  “I don’t know,” my mom said, “but we could certainly get rich from selling it. It’s in everything!” Read More

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Uruguay Wins, Science Loses in the World Cup as Pereria Concussion Is Ignored

Uruguay beat England yesterday in the World Cup and most of the headlines were about the late go-ahead goal that sent the British players packing. Barely mentioned in the initial coverage were the grave mistakes made by everyone involved in the game when faced with a potentially significant brain injury. Read More

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House of Representatives Tells Pentagon to Ignore Climate Change Science

The House giveth, the House taketh away. Last Friday, I wrote about how the House Armed Services Committee, in its funding bill for the Department of Defense, encouraged DoD to give its scientists adequate funding to travel to scientific meetings. It was a great example of the House of Representatives supporting science and scientists. And then came West Virginia Representative David McKinley. Read More

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House Committee Supports Lifting Travel Restrictions for Government Scientists

I’ve written before about how burdensome and unnecessary travel restrictions prevent federal government scientists from participating in scientific meetings and collaborating with their peers. So I was delighted to see the following text in the accompanying report to the Defense Department authorizing bill that passed unanimously out of the House Armed Services Committee on May 7, which is worth quoting at some length (my emphasis added): Read More

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Of Manatees and Mandates: Celebrating Endangered Species Day

As a little girl, I really liked marine mammals, especially seals and manatees. They fascinated me. I learned all about them and their habitats. I knew the anatomical differences between a seal and a sea lion and I could describe the eating and migration patterns of manatees. I knew which species were endangered and which human activities threatened them. As an adult, I have almost certainly lost much of this detailed knowledge I had as a nine-year old. Nevertheless, I remain fascinated by them and continue to be concerned about their survival. Read More

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