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Posts Tagged ‘FOIA’

Out of Facts, Climate Contrarians Seek to Intimidate

Last week, my colleague Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel gave a talk alongside Dr. Michael Mann, a Penn State professor who has faced constant harassment from politicians and groups that don’t accept mainstream climate science.

The event received an outsize amount of scrutiny from climate contrarians, including some misleading and forceful demands directed at Dr. Mann and the event organizers. Read More

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Remembering Rick Piltz, Scientific Integrity Advocate

Rick Piltz, founder of Climate Science Watch and revered whistleblower who exposed political interference in climate science, succumbed to cancer over the weekend. He took a brave and unusual path from civil servant to scientific integrity advocate and climate activist that inspired many of us. His memory will continue to motivate me and many others to work tirelessly for a better world where science more freely informs public policy. Read More

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Openness Effort Trumps Partisan Gridlock in Congress

You can probably count on the fingers of one hand the issues on which there is bipartisan agreement in Congress. Fortunately, strengthening Freedom of Information (FOIA)  is one of them. Read More

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More High Profile FOIA Requests at the University of Virginia

The University of Virginia is facing another high-profile open records request, this time from LGBT rights organizers on the political left. Fortunately, UVa has set a highly visible precedent in terms of how it should respond to a Freedom of Information Act request, and has a Virginia Supreme Court decision to back it up. Read More

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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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Recap: Virginia Supreme Court Hearing on FOIA, Scientific Research, and Michael Mann

Emblazoned on the facade of the Virginia State Library, and steps from the commonwealth’s capitol and Supreme Court are the following words of the state’s most prominent former resident, Thomas Jefferson: “Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error. They are the natural enemies of error and of error only.” This was the setting for the second trip in as many years by the University of Virginia and climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann to the commonwealth’s highest court. Read More

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Preview of Thursday’s VA Supreme Court Hearing: University of Virginia v. American Tradition Institute

UPDATE: I have now posted a recap of the January 9 hearing.

On Thursday, the Virginia Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the American Tradition Institute’s lawsuit seeking the private correspondence of climate scientist Michael Mann and dozens of other scientists. UCS and several other scientific and educational organizations argue that granting this access would damage scientists’ ability to communicate frankly and openly with their peers, and to explore new ideas free from harassment. 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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Breaking: Climate Change Scientist Michael Mann (and Scientific Inquiry) Win in Virginia FOIA Case

Climate Scientist Michael Mann is reporting that in a ruling from the bench, Virginia Circuit Court Judge Paul F. Sheridan has affirmed the right of the University of Virginia to protect the privacy of its researchers from overly broad open records requests.  Read More

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BP Goes After Scientists Who Helped Them During the Gulf Oil Disaster

The attack on the privacy of scientists’ email communication is expanding. It’s not just those who deny climate change who are going after the emails. Two scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution wrote in the Boston Globe over the weekend that British Petroleum has successfully subpoenaed more than 3,000 confidential emails among scientists that discuss the Gulf oil disaster. Read More

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