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Oversight and Accountability

Solutions to Restore Scientific Integrity in Policy Making

The Issue: Across a wide range of issues—from childhood lead poisoning to global warming—science is being manipulated, distorted and suppressed.

Why it Matters: Without access to independent scientific information, policy makers will be unable to make informed decisions that protect our health, safety, and environment.

The Solution: Congress, the media, the advocacy community, and the public have a large role to play in exposing and speaking out against abuses of science. Those who misuse science for political purposes need to be held accountable for their actions.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have held several hearings to investigate abuses of science. UCS staff has testified at many of these hearings. Below are just a few of the hearings that sought to investigate political interference in science.

  • UCS Senior Scientist Francesca Grifo testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on January 30, 2007. Her testimony focused on the results of Atmosphere of Pressure, an investigation by UCS and the Government Accountability Project that details broad interference in government scientists ability to communicate with the public, Congress, and the media. Read Francesca's testimony and the testimony of the other witnesses here. Also, click here to read statements from members of Congress on scientific integrity.
  • UCS Board member Dr. James McCarthy testified before a subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee  in March 2007 about the attempts by the government and private companies to spread misinformation about climate change.
  • On Wednesday, May 9, 2007 Francesca Grifo testified in front of the House Committee on Natural Resources on political interference in the science behind the implementation of the Endangered Species Act. Hearing witnesses discussed interference in the addition and removal of species from the endangered and threatened lists, the designation of critical habitat, and the development of recovery plans.

The Media
Dozens of newspapers and magazines nationwide have editorialized against political interference in science. Excerpts from a sampling of these editorials can be found here.

Advocacy Groups
Concern about the impacts of political interference in science has led scientific associations and public interest groups to take action to defend science. Click here to learn more about these organizations and their activities.

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