Purifying science

March 30, 2009|By Wendy Wagner and Rena Steinzor

President Barack Obama's order this month striking down Bush-era barriers to embryonic stem cell research overshadowed his perhaps larger announcement on science that day: He directed his science adviser to develop a comprehensive plan to protect science from politics in his administration.

That's a worthy enterprise, and it will be a challenge given the vast scope of the problem. During the Bush years, it was all too common for administration political appointees to suppress or reshape scientific findings. They infamously tried to suppress a report by Environmental Protection Agency scientists on the scope of global warming, for example. But ending such heavy-handed manipulation by political appointees is the low-hanging fruit of the effort to restore science to its rightful role in policymaking. It absolutely needs to be picked, but there's much more to harvest.


From the Center for Progressive Reform:

"Policymaking in Washington and around the nation often relies on scientific research. That's particularly true at the regulatory level, where the vigorous implementation and enforcement of statutory environmental, health and safety standards depends on sound judgments based on clean science. In recent years, however, the scientific process has itself been polluted with politics. Corporations have sometimes suppressed scientific data that reflected badly on their products and processes, and government-sponsored scientific panels and advisory committees have become increasing slanted toward industry at the expense of the environment, health and safety."

More at www.progressivereform.org/scienceClean.cfm

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