Groups Urge Support of Scientific Integrity Act as Congressional Hearing Looms

July 15, 2019 | 2:44 pm
Photo: Mike Olliver/UCS
Michael Halpern
Former contributor

On the eve of a congressional hearing about preventing attacks on science, more than 60 organizations sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to co-sponsor and advance the Scientific Integrity Act. I’ve written previously about how the legislation would empower federal agency scientists to speak publicly about their work and protect federal science in policy decisions from inappropriate political influence and interference. What’s exciting to me isn’t the number of groups, but the diversity of interests that they represent. 

It’s not just scientists who are supporting the Scientific Integrity Act. The list of organizations includes government accountability groups such as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, environmental groups such as Defenders of Wildlife, women’s health organizations such as the National Partnership for Women & Families, and unions such as SEIU.

The letter describes the potential impact of the legislation:

Our nation relies on scientific integrity to maintain the role of best available science in policymaking. This research is critical to improving air and water quality, protecting workers, safeguarding public health and safety, advancing reproductive health, defending civil rights, preserving biodiversity, and responding to threats posed by diseases and extreme weather events. We urge you to sign on as co-sponsors of S. 775 or H.R. 1709 to take this important step toward ensuring that our government uses science and evidence to best protect our public health and well-being.

The House Science Committee will consider the legislation in a hearing this coming Wednesday, and I will be testifying about the importance of strong scientific integrity protections. This is the first hearing in years to examine real solutions to attacks on science, so I’m thrilled to be a part of it. I’ll have a more detailed examination of the legislation along with links to my testimony early Wednesday morning on this blog.