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Posts Tagged ‘political interference in science’

Testifying about Sustainability and the American Diet

The day before yesterday, together with my UCS colleagues Lindsey Haynes-Maslow and Deborah Bailin, I went to the National Institutes of Health to testify on the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. This report, prepared by a committee of experts every five years, provides the basic information for federal food programs such as school lunches and SNAP (formerly called food stamps), and is used to create the official U.S. Dietary Guidelines that are the basis for the MyPlate graphics.

Lindsey, Deborah and I testified about different aspects of the DGAC report, and they have already put their testimony up on their blogs. Here is mine, which focuses on food sustainability issues such as the climate impacts of the American diet.
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Interfering in the Science: Congress Targets Sage Grouse Protections in Cromnibus Bill

Lately, we’ve seen Congress target many things: Science funding at NSF, school lunch, and the EPA’s ability to function, but I believe this is the first time I’ve seen Congress target a bird. Read More

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Note to Politicians: No Need to Keep Telling Us You Are Not Scientists

Earlier this week, McClatchy-Tribune published an op-ed I wrote about the many politicians who have recently said some version of “I’m not a scientist” when asked about science-based policies. Read More

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ALEC Can’t Deny Its Record of Climate Change Disinformation

Faced with an ongoing exodus of corporate funders — News Corp and Occidental Petroleum are among the latest departures — the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is suddenly in a hurry to hide its long history of denying the reality of climate change.

But there’s no hiding the fact that ALEC has fought for decades to inappropriately sow doubt around the scientific consensus that climate change is happening, that its cause is largely man-made, and that we need to do something about it. Read More

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Ohio Senate President Stacks the Deck against Renewable Energy

Ohio’s clean energy standards may never get the evidence and science-based review that was promised. Last week, Ohio senate president Keith Faber appointed outspoken opponents of renewable energy and energy efficiency to a committee supposedly intended to do an objective review of Ohio’s clean energy standards. Most disappointing is the inclusion of Senator Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), who has waged a biased and misleading campaign against Ohio’s clean energy standards for the past two years. Read More

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A Funny Thing Happened at the Fish and Wildlife Service: The Wolverine Endangered Species Listing

What does the wolverine have to do with climate change? No, the X-men haven’t decided to #ActOnClimate (yet), but the two are very much related.  Wolverines are mammals that live in snowy terrain of the mountain West, and they are currently threatened by climate change, at least according to some scientists. But if you ask the decision makers at the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), you might get a different story. 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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The Koch Brothers Can’t Switch Off Renewable Electricity

Despite relentless legislative attacks funded by the Koch Brothers and other fossil fuel special interest groups, state renewable electricity standards are holding their own and continue to drive investments in clean energy resources. And as long as legislators remain committed to well-informed policies that represent the will of the people instead of a few powerful special interests, renewable energy can continue to look forward to a bright future in the U.S. 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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A Celebration of Carl Sagan: The Man, the Legacy, and the Unanswered Question

Yesterday, I was fortunate to attend “A Celebration of Carl Sagan” at the Library of Congress. Hosted by Emmy award-winner and science-supporter Seth MacFarlane, the event welcomed The Seth MacFarlane Collection of Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive to the library and included 13 esteemed speakers all of whom had personal connections to the man being honored. Each speaker had different stories to tell, but many concluded their talk with the same unanswered question. Read More

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