Michael Halpern

Deputy director, Center for Science & Democracy

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Michael Halpern is an expert on political interference in science and solutions to reduce suppression, manipulation, and distortion of government science. See Michael's full bio.

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Michael's Latest Posts

Scientists Prevail in Lawsuit Against EPA Science Advice Ban

In a win for independent science, the EPA said yesterday that it will rescind a policy banning many of the nation’s top environmental scientists from serving on the agency’s science advisory committees. The agency was under court order to remove it. Read more >

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Restoring Science, Protecting the Public: 43 Steps for the Next Presidential Term

Federal government scientists should be free to pursue research where it leads and communicate their results without political manipulation. The government should collect reliable data about public health and environmental threats and make it publicly available. Formal science advice to government should be robust and independent. Agency leaders should be qualified, ethical, and accountable. Public protections should fully consider the best available science. Those who expose political interference in science should be protected. Read more >

Photo: EPA
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Victory: House Includes Bipartisan Scientific Integrity Act in HEROES legislation

The outlook for the independence of scientists throughout government just got a lot sunnier. Just a few moments ago, the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Scientific Integrity Act as part of the HEROES Act COVID-19 stimulus legislation. The Scientific Integrity Act would shield government scientists and their work from political influence. The legislation makes it more likely that the experts who work on our behalf can investigate public health and environmental threats and share their work directly and honestly. Read more >

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EPA Refused to Hold a Hearing on its Science Rule, So We Held It for Them

On March 18th, a date when many of us were already sheltering in place, the EPA announced a proposal to restrict how the agency uses science to protect public health. The EPA gave the public thirty days to provide comment. Held no virtual public hearings. In the middle of a pandemic. We urged the agency, repeatedly, to hold a virtual hearing on the proposal. Each time, they refused. So UCS decided that if the EPA would not do its job, someone would need to do it for them. EPA would get the feedback and the science advice whether they wanted to or not. Read more >

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Timeline: 23 Years of Attempts to Restrict Public Health Science at EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency is advancing a broad proposal to restrict the use of science at the agency with no official public hearings and a limited sixty-day comment period, which ends on May 18. The rule is the culmination of 25 years of attempts to weaken the Clear Air Act and other critical public health laws. For the first two decades, these attempts came directly from industry and occasionally from Congress. But the attacks began from inside once polluter-friendly appointees took over the agency at the beginning of the Trump administration. They know they can’t win on the science, so they want to exclude it. Below is a timeline of attempts to restrict how science is used at EPA. If you see anything missing, drop me a note. Read more >

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