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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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Nelson Mandela and the Politics of Science

Today, we celebrate the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. It is worth reflecting on his ability to transcend politics when speaking about contentious scientific issues. Nowhere was this more apparent than the difficult politics surrounding HIV/AIDS at the turn of the millennium. Read More

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The Heartland Institute Hijacks American Meteorological Society’s Name, and AMS Fights Back

The Heartland Institute—you know, the friendly folks behind the ads comparing climate scientists to the Unabomber—is at it again. In an email sent Thanksgiving week, the organization attempted to use the good name of the American Meteorological Society to misrepresent the views of society members regarding global warming science. It’s the latest in a series of attempts by groups such as Heartland to hide behind the names of legitimate scientific organizations to influence public understanding of climate science. Read More

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Francesca Grifo Leaves UCS to Oversee Scientific Integrity at EPA

UCS’s Francesca Grifo, who has advocated for strong scientific integrity standards within government since 2005, started today as the EPA’s scientific integrity officer. She is charged with implementing the EPA’s scientific integrity policy. It’s a big win for the agency, and will hopefully spark a renewed commitment to scientific integrity within the federal government. Read More

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Coal Mining and Public Health: How the Coal Industry, Lawyers, and Doctors Have Betrayed Miners and Their Families

Recent news reports about coal mining have pulled me back to thinking about workers—having spent the bulk of my pre-UCS career in occupational health (teaching in medical schools and working for our country’s workplace health and safety research agency, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health/NIOSH). With the critical focus on climate change and the need to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases and other dangerous pollutants from coal-burning power plants, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the health impacts coal has on the brave souls who mine it and on their families who share in their suffering. Read More

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New CREW Report on Fracking Industry Contributions to Congressional Candidates

There’s nothing new about special interests using money to influence politicians. And it’s no secret that this spending has been on the rise across the board recently, notably following in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010. Read More

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Through the Looking Glass: Climate Change Denial, Conflict of Interest and Connecting Science to Policy

The Boston Globe has an outstanding series of articles entitled “Broken City” and it is not hard to guess which city they are referring to.  Hint—not the one that boasts a World-Series-winning team. Read More

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Can Attacking Scientists Be a Political Liability?

Politicians attack scientists to score points with voters and their backers, whether it’s members of Congress attacking individual government grantees or belittling scientists whose research undermines their legislative priorities.  It got so bad that UCS put out a guide for scientists who find their work under an unusual amount of scrutiny (still a good idea to take a look before you’re in that situation).  But yesterday’s election in Virginia may showcase how these sorts of attacks can backfire, making a candidate look extreme and out of touch. Read More

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Convenient Science for Hire: the American Council on Science and Health Puts the Cart before the Horse

In business and politics, it is a good thing to have science on your side. Scientific study informs and enlightens our decision making on everything from food to energy to health. But what happens when the science is inconvenient to your business model? Read More

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