Department of Energy Moves to Protect Science with Strong New Policy

Statement from Michael Halpern, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jan 11, 2017

WASHINGTON (January 11, 2017)—The Department of Energy has issued a new scientific integrity policy. It’s a strong, clear policy that will help protect the rights of scientists and ensure that Americans can benefit from the best available science, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Michael Halpern, deputy director of the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS.

“The Department of Energy has a broad and important scientific portfolio, from national laboratories to renewable power research to nuclear safety. It’s vital for DOE scientists to have sufficient independence to effectively conduct research to support the public good.

“The policy is strong and its language precise, giving scientists and other DOE employees a powerful tool to resist the manipulation and censorship of science.

“There are real concerns about whether President-elect Donald Trump and Energy Secretary nominee Rick Perry will respect the role of science in policy making. Governor Perry now has a roadmap for respecting the independence of the agency’s scientists, and the Senate should make sure he follows it.

As the Senate considers Governor Perry’s nomination, Senators must ask him for details on how he will implement the new policy. All nominees to lead federal science agencies should pledge to respect the rights of scientists to research and share their results with the public.

“Should the administration try to walk back the DOE policy, they will get strong pushback from not only scientists but also from people in Tennessee, Virginia, Iowa, and several other states who understand the value of the national laboratories to their state and the national economy.”