Science and Democracy

The partnership between science and democracy has played a huge role in U.S. history. But misinformation and attacks on science have strained that partnership. UCS science and democracy experts keep you informed on the latest developments, from Capitol Hill to local communities.


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Latest Science and Democracy Posts

Photo courtesy of General Motors

Will Koch Pull the Plug on Electric Cars?

, senior writer

When multibillionaire industrialist Charles Koch perceives a potential threat to his fossil fuel empire, he doesn’t mess around. Koch wants to kill a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500 for electric vehicle (EV) buyers for the first 200,000 EVs each automaker sells. Although EVs make up less than 2 percent of total vehicle sales nationally, 123,000 of them were snapped up in the first six months of this year, more than twice the amount sold in all of 2015, and more carmakers are expected to introduce new EV models over the next few months. Alarm bells are going off at Koch Industries headquarters. Read more >

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Photo: mopictures/Flickr

Understanding Local Impacts to Inform Wildlife Conservation

Dr. Christie Sampson, and Charles C.Y. Xu, , UCS

It’s 16:30 in rural Myanmar and my field crew, who had spent the day surveying for elephant dung, are racing our caravan of motorbikes back to the field camp before dusk descends. As the day fades tempering the oppressive heat, elephants emerge from the shade of the forest to begin foraging, sometimes in the sugarcane and rice paddies that are increasingly spreading across the country. Running into one of these giants as they too use the network of dirt roads to travel through the landscape can be fatal, necessitating a strict policy of returning to camp before dark for the safety of the team. While my field season lasts a short three months, this is one of many concessions residents are forced to make or risk their lives encountering an elephant as night falls. Read more >

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Photo: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

Scientific Integrity and Privacy at Risk in Census

, Kendall Science Fellow

When the Framers of the U.S. Constitution determined that political power should be allocated proportionally based on population and race (as opposed to wealth, heredity, or religion), they needed a scientific means of measuring population. That is the primary reason that we have the Decennial Census, so that population traits can be identified geographically. Since then, the Census has become the largest scientific endeavor that the nation undertakes on a regular basis. In recent days, however, testimony in several court cases challenging the current Administration’s attempt to politicize the Census has revealed an alarming threat to its scientific integrity, and by extension, countless political and economic functions that rely on the Census.

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Photo: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr
Source: https://americanmigrations.uic.edu/censustools.htm
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Photo: Dave Herholz/Flickr

Scientists Call Out EPA Over Ozone Pollution Standards

, Research Director, Center for Science and Democracy

On Thursday, November 29, the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) will meet (via phone) for the first time since the recent upheaval in its membership. The agenda? To discuss the Integrated Review Plan for updating the ozone standard. And recently ousted scientists have something to say about it.

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Photo: Dave Herholz/Flickr
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Photo: US Air Force

EPA Chemical Office Nominee Alexandra Dunn Must Prioritize Science and Public Health

, Research Director, Center for Science and Democracy

Behind the headlines of the Trump administration’s attacks on science is a quiet army of government scientists continuing to do their jobs protecting the nation’s public health, safety, and the environment. This week, we have the opportunity to ensure a new EPA leader can carry out that mission. On Thursday, the Senate is holding a hearing on the nomination of Alexandra Dunn as Assistant Administrator to run the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, the EPA office charged with protecting us from toxic chemicals and pesticides. Here’s what Senators should demand and expect her to prioritize at the EPA:

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Photo: US Air Force
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