Attacks on Science

The Trump administration and 115th Congress have been actively dismantling science-based health and safety protections, sidelining scientific evidence, and undoing recent progress on scientific integrity.

We've seen this movie before. And we know how to fight back. We're standing up for science. We're inviting scientists to securely share information on scientific integrity abuses. And we're encouraging our supporters to watchdog this administration and Congress, as we did during the George W. Bush administration and the Barack Obama administration.

Below is a running list of attacks on science—disappearing data, silenced scientists, and other assaults on scientific integrity and science-based policy. The list provides a representative sample of threats to the federal scientific enterprise.

Beyond this list, many other moves by the president and Congress degrade the environment for science and scientists in this country. For example, the president’s Muslim ban hurts science and scientists, including those working for the federal government and the president’s rescinding transgender protections is damaging to the ability of all young budding scientists to reach their full potential. These actions are also important to document, and we continue do so on the UCS blog.

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The USDA canceled an assessment in Minnesota meant to study the effects of establishing sulfide-ore copper mines near one of the state’s most fragile wilderness areas.


A report by the DOE used erroneous calculations in order to justify conclusions that coal power plants are essential during severe winter conditions.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is currently reassessing the status of the American burying beetle on the endangered species list.


The DOE issued an order in mid-May that outlined new limits on an independent oversight board, which assesses safety concerns at nuclear facilities.


The US FWS issued a memo saying that it will roll back its decision to ban neonicotinoid pesticides and pesticide-resistant crops in national wildlife refuges.


Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross sent out a directive that stands in contrast to the scientific practices of how best to fight large wildfires.


The EPA has eliminated a long-standing air pollution policy, allowing major polluters to be reclassified under a less stringent category.


The USDA proposed a reorganization of their research agencies. The restructuring may have been used to pressure scientists to quit, to reduce the size of the scientific divisions.


EPA officials appear to be suppressing an important report on the risk of cancer from formaldehyde, a common chemical in many household products.


Wilbur Ross, has added a question to the 2020 census asking if the respondent is a US citizen. The question is being added without going through normal testing procedures.