Scientists Speak Out Against the Bush Administration

Last week the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released updated evidence that the Bush administration continues to manipulate and control science for political reasons. UCS has now collected the signatures of more than 4,000 scientists supporting a statement urging the Bush administration to discontinue these troubling practices, and to restore scientific integrity in federal policymaking. The prestigious list of scientists taking this unprecedented stand includes 48 Nobel laureates, 62 national medal of science recipients, and 127 members of the National Academy of Sciences. UCS released a report in February detailing numerous cases of manipulation, distortion, and suppression of scientific information within government agencies. The White House dismissed the concerns raised in the report and has continued operating as before. UCS blames this denial for the significant increase of interest in the scientific community. The new cases involve issues ranging from mountaintop removal strip mining to endangered species. The evidence also exposes significant political interference with independent scientific advisory panels, most notably at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), under the Department of Health and Human Services. UCS outlines measures that could mitigate the problems and begin to correct the situation, including:
  • Whistleblower protection of government scientists;
  • Restoring independent scientific advice to Congress, possibly within GAO;
  • Greater oversight powers for the Office of Science and Technology Policy;
  • Stricter enforcement of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) with increased transparency for selection and activities of advisory committees; and
  • Full access to government scientific analysis that isn't legitimately classified for national security reasons.
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