Science Group Report Says Trump Administration And Allies Have
Harmed Public Health And Safety In First Six Months
A new report from the
Union of Concerned Scientists opens with the assertion that “a clear
pattern has emerged over the first six months of the Trump
presidency---multiple actions by his administration are eroding the
ability of science, facts, and evidence to inform policy decisions,
leaving us more vulnerable to threats to public health and the
report, entitled “Sidelining Science Since Day One”, reminds readers
that while political interference in science is not new, it has
“escalated markedly” under the Trump administration. The report
provides an inventory of the adverse science actions and impacts that
have occurred to date.
Taken from the report, these are:
Sidelining independent science advice.
Trump administration has weakened federal advisory committees that
provide scientific advice to the government.
Appointing conflicted individuals to
scientific leadership positions.
President Trump has appointed to the highest positions in government
individuals with little science background and with strong ties to the
industries they are charged with regulating.
Leaving key science positions vacant.
President Trump has taken an unusually long time to fill many
high-level science positions, signaling the low priority his
administration places on science.
Revoking science-based safeguards.
Aided and abetted by Congress, President Trump has
allowed politics to supersede science by signing an unprecedented 13
congressional resolutions rolling back science-based protections,
including safe drinking water standards and safeguards to prevent
worker exposure to harmful chemicals.
• Misrepresenting climate
science and rolling back climate change safeguards.
Attacking science-based policies and communications on
preparing for and mitigating climate change is a clear focus for the
Trump administration. Officials have misrepresented climate science,
removed climate-related content from several government
communications, and proposed sharp reductions in climate research.
• Weakening science-based
pollution standards without scientific justification.
The administration has delayed or repealed several
science-based pollution standards designed to protect public health,
including protections against mercury, air toxics, and coal
wastewater, without replacing them with new, scientifically defensible
• Undermining protections from
hazards at work and home.
The Trump administration has delayed many science-based
rules intended to keep communities safe from dangerous chemical spills
and to safeguard workers from harmful toxins, with little to support
halts except for letters and petitions from companies or industry
• Altering scientific content
on federal websites.
The scientific content of federal agency webpages,
including those of the Enviromental Protection Agency, the State
Department, and the Department of Energy, has been altered or deleted
since January, particularly in regard to climate change science.
• Reducing public access to
Trump administration has reduced public access to scientific data and
information. The administration also has stopped collecting certain
data for programs that benefit disadvantaged groups. And it has
withdrawn requests to industry to supply data that would help inform
public health and environmental protections.
• Restricting communication of
The Trump administration is making it more difficult
for government scientists to speak publicly about their work, as well
as about misconduct within an agency. It has restricted communication
with Congress, placed vague gag orders on agency staff, and failed to
affirm the ability of scientists to share their expertise publicly.
• Creating a hostile
environment for scientific staff.
Evidence is growing that a culture of fear is
increasing at government agencies, undermining scientific research and
communication. Scientists are speaking to the media anonymously out of
fear of retaliation; some are afraid to utter the words climate
To counter the current pattern, the report recommends
scientists articulate the importance of science, and sound the alarm
when science is misused. It urges Congress to protect whistle blowers
and federal scientists and to hold the administration accountable for
its anti-science actions. It makes a similar recommendation about
accountability for journalists and urges them to seek out scientists
to maintain communications between them.
To read the full report, visit: