Tuesday, December 12, 2006

10,600 Scientists Call For Integrity In Federal Policy Making

Dec 11: The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) announced that a statement by Nobel laureates and other leading scientists calling for the restoration of scientific integrity to Federal policy making has been signed by 10,600 scientists from all 50 states. The announcement came as UCS released an "A to Z" guide that documents dozens of recent allegations involving censorship and political interference in Federal science.

Dr. Francesca Grifo, senior scientist and director of UCS's Scientific Integrity Program said, "From airborne bacteria to Ground Zero, science continues to be misrepresented for political gain. The new Congress should enact meaningful reforms so decisions within federal scientific agencies and advisory committees are based on objective and unbiased science. The scientist statement makes clear that while science is rarely the only factor in public policy decisions, this input should be objective and impartial. Sustained protest from scientists, individual Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and the nation's leading editorial pages has not been enough to make the abuse of science stop."

According to a release, the "integrity of science statement" has grown steadily since it was first released in February 2004. Signatories now include 52 Nobel Laureates, 63 National Medal of Science recipients, and almost 200 members of the National Academies of Science. Meanwhile, the new UCS compendium details censorship and political interference in federal science on issues as diverse as air quality, childhood lead poisoning, and prescription drug safety.

For example, in late October UCS released documents tying high-level political appointees at the Department of Interior to the manipulation and distortion of numerous scientific documents to prevent the protection of six different species under the Endangered Species Act. UCS also cites: "For example, in support of the president’s decision to avoid regulating emissions that cause climate change, the administration has consistently misrepresented the findings of the National Academy of Sciences, government scientists, and the expert community at large. Thus in June 2003, the White House demanded extensive changes in the treatment of climate change in a major report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To avoid issuing a scientifically indefensible report, EPA officials eviscerated the discussion of climate change and its consequences."

Additionally, UCS cites: "The administration also suppressed a study by the EPA that found that a bipartisan Senate clean air proposal would yield greater health benefits than the administration’s proposed Clear Skies Act, which the administration is portraying as an improvement of the existing Clean Air Act. “Clear Skies” would, however, be less effective in cleaning up the nation’s air and reducing mercury contamination of fish than proper enforcement of the existing Clean Air Act."

Access a release (
click here). Access the A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science (click here). Access extensive information on the project (click here). Access a list and database of signers by state and name (click here). [*All]