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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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Scientific Advice for the New EPA Carbon Emissions Standards: Let’s Clear the Air

This month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published proposed new standards limiting Greenhouse Gas Emissions from new electricity generating power plants using coal or natural gas. Allegations of secrecy and political interference in science began to surface even before the proposal was released. So do these allegations have any merit? Read More

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Dear Senate: Ease Travel Restrictions on Government Scientists

Most scientists who work for the government love doing so. They develop connections with others who share their dedication to public service, and see the immediate impact of their work reflected in real-world policies that protect public health and safety or the environment. But sometimes, politics gets in the way of their full participation in the scientific enterprise, wasting taxpayer dollars invested in the researchers themselves and jeopardizing the ability of the government to attract top scientific talent. Read More

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Finding Glimmers of Hope on Capitol Hill

The holidays are always a good time to take stock of the year, and to be grateful for the good things that happened. Although the media has labeled this the “do nothing” Congress, the news wasn’t all bad. Read More

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How Disclosure Changed a Conversation on Fracking (And Why that Matters)

Last week, I moderated a session on fracking at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The event went as we planned with seven speakers presenting their work on unconventional oil and gas development, but after the formal talks when we opened a panel discussion with questions from the audience, something unexpected happened. Read More

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Don’t Mix Politics and Public Protections: Delays Harm Us All

For years, UCS has been making the case that science should inform the work of federal agencies, and that agency policies and rules should not be subject to political and corporate interference. When President George W. Bush was in office, the extent of that interference was quite blatant. John Graham, then head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), an obscure but powerful office within the Office of Management and Budget, did all he could to displace science and permit corporate pressure on the rulemaking process. Read More

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Lumps of Coal in the House-Passed Farm Bill

There’s an old and well honored legislative strategy of tucking otherwise unacceptable and noxious proposals into must-pass bills. The hope is that House and Senate members, seeking compromise on a final piece of legislation, may be so relieved to get a deal on the big-ticket items that some of the smaller bits can get through, too. Read More

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