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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After Joshua Tree National Park’s Twitter account published a series of tweets based on climate change science, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke reprimanded the park’s superintendent and ordered the park to cease posting tweets on climate change.

Several months after undermining the independence of one of EPA’s main advisory committees, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt attacked the independence of another, the Science Advisory Board (SAB), by ordering that no scientists receiving EPA grant funding could serve on the SAB.

Three EPA scientists were prevented from speaking at a conference on the effects of climate change.

A leaked draft of the Department of Interior’s strategic plan for 2018-2022 eliminated all mention of climate change and instead prioritized energy production on public lands. 

John Konkus, a political appointee reviewing grant solicitations and proposals at the EPA, is cutting references to climate change—and canceling competitively awarded grants.

The administration claimed that scientific evidence supported their decision, but they got the science all wrong.

The findings of the analysis run contrary to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s statements that a corporate tax cut will benefit workers the most.

On August 18, 2017, the Department of Interior (DOI) ordered the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to cease all work on a study examining potential health risks for people living near surface coal mining sites in the Appalachian Mountains. While DOI claimed that it was halting and reviewing all studies in excess of $100,000, this study seems to be the only one currently halted.  

More than two dozen US scientists were prevented from attending a key international meeting on nuclear reactors.

A news release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration failed to link greenhouse gas emissions to human activity.