scientific integrity

We Need an Environmental Dr. Fauci

Much of environmental law is about protecting public health. But the Trump Administration won’t listen.

During the coronavirus crisis, Dr. Anthony Fauci has become the voice of reason. Much of the public turns to him for critical information about public health, while even Trump finds it necessary to listen. In the Trump era, no one plays that role in the environmental area. The result is a mindless campaign of deregulation …


Polticial Bias Versus Scientific Integrity: An Empirical Test

What the effort to pack the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board can teach us.

Many people distrust environmental science, though for different reasons.  Progressives may discount science that they see as supporting business interests.  Meanwhile, conservatives may think scientists come to “politically correct” conclusions in order to get grants. It’s reasonable to think that these things may sometimes happen.  But how strong are these effects? Unwittingly, the Trump Administration …


EPA v. the Inspector General

Surprise, surprise, EPA has tried to stonewall an investigation.

EPA’s Acting Inspector General Charles J. Sheehan took the extraordinary step last week of notifying Congress that EPA was stonewalling his investigation of potential misconduct involving EPA’s Chief of Staff.  This was a gutsy move for Sheehan, especially given the extra vulnerability created by his Acting status. Sheehan, it is worth noting, is a career …


Scientific integrity in the Trump administration

We can’t tell yet what role science will play in the new administration’s policy choices, but there is reason for concern

  There has understandably been a great deal of hand wringing in the environmental policy world since the US presidential election, including on this site (see, for example, Sean’s post here, Dan’s here, and Ann’s here). There are so many hands to be wrung, however, that we’re nowhere near through them all. One topic that …


Research? We Don’t Need No Stinking Research!

Yes, this post is about the House GOP.  How did you guess? Lamar Smith, chair of the House science committee, has opened an unprecedented investigation into five NSF research projects, demanding copies of peer reviews and other information in a letter to the NSF director. I looked up the abstracts for the five projects that …


Jane Lubchenco to leave NOAA

Cross-posted at CPRBlog. NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco has announced that she will leave her post at the end of February. Her letter to NOAA employees, reprinted in the Washington Post, cites the difficulty of maintaining a bi-coastal family life. Dr. Lubchenco, a distinguished marine biologist, has put in four years at the helm of NOAA, …


The Credibility of Climate Science

Climate denialists contend that climate science is either the result of a conspiracy of some kind  or of groupthink plus institutional incentives to support alarmist predictions.  The conspiracy theory makes even less sense than most conspiracy theories, because there would have to be hundreds, perhaps thousands of people involved, scattered across the world at  numerous …


Interior adopts scientific integrity guidelines

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has formalized the Department’s guidelines on scientific integrity and created the new position of Scientific Integrity Officer, to be filled by Dr. Ralph Morgenweck, Senior Science Advisor at the Fish and Wildlife Service. The guidelines are the first agency effort out of the blocks after the White House Office of Science …


White House scientific integrity guidelines — a long wait for not much

Early on in the Obama administration, promoting scientific integrity in government decisionmaking seemed to be a high priority. Less than 2 months after his inauguration, the President issued a memorandum giving the Office of Science and Technology Policy 4 months to “develop recommendations for Presidential action designed to guarantee scientific integrity throughout the executive branch.” …


Pesticides, Science and Politics

Those three can make for a toxic environment, literally and figuratively.  Take the case of methyl iodide, a material so obviously toxic that scientists use it to induce cancer in laboratory experiments.  Arysta LifeScience Corporation has obtained a federal pesticide registration from EPA for use as a fumigant, despite a letter from 50 scientists, including five …