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Context of 'February 18, 2004: Leading Scientists Accuse Bush Administration of Ignoring, Distorting Science'

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Sixty of the nation’s leading scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, warn in a statement: “Successful application of science has played a large part in the policies that have made the United States of America the world’s most powerful nation and its citizens increasingly prosperous and healthy.… Indeed, this principle has long been adhered to by presidents and administrations of both parties in forming and implementing policies. The administration of George W. Bush has, however, disregarded this principle.… The distortion of scientific knowledge for partisan political ends must cease.” [Union of Concerned Scientists, 2/18/2004] The Bush administration apparently ignores the statement. [Der Spiegel (Hamburg), 9/1/2005]

Entity Tags: Bush administration (43), Union of Concerned Scientists

Timeline Tags: Hurricane Katrina

Flowchart showing NOAA’s review process for press releasesFlowchart showing NOAA’s review process for press releases [Source: Government Accountability Project] (click image to enlarge)A February 2006 NOAA document features a flowchart outlining the review process that news releases must go through before they are published. According to the flowchart, the press release is submitted and reviewed by several layers of bureaucracy within the NOAA and the Department of Commerce. As a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists will note, “a successful press release must pass review by several entities that primarily serve political and public relations functions, and scientists do not have a right of final review to ensure scientific accuracy of the final product.” [Union of Concern Scientists and Government Accountability Project, 1/30/2007, pp. 32 pdf file] In April 2006, Ronald Stouffer, a senior NOAA research meteorologist, will say he “stopped trying to get press releases out” because of the difficulty of explaining the science to the agency’s public affairs officers and because of the complexity of the approval process. [Maassarani, 3/27/2007, pp. 28 pdf file]

Entity Tags: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Timeline Tags: Global Warming

A survey taken by 997 FDA scientists suggests a pervasive problem of low morale among agency employees, due in large part to political interference by appointees. Sixty-two percent of those who participated in the poll were senior scientists and almost a third had worked for the FDA for more than 15 years. The survey was conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
bullet Seventeen percent said “FDA decision makers” had asked them on at least one occasion to modify conclusions in an FDA document for nonscientific reasons.
bullet More than 40 percent knew of situations where political appointees had interfered with FDA determinations or actions.
bullet Forty-seven percent knew of instances where “commercial interests” improperly engaged in efforts to modify FDA conclusions.
bullet Only 51 percent said they believe the FDA is effectively safeguarding public health.
bullet Forty percent said there were times they chose not to publicly express concerns for fear of retaliation.
bullet Almost 70 percent said the agency lacks the needed resources to fulfill its regulatory duties.
bullet Forty percent said morale is poor or extremely poor.
bullet Only 32 percent said they feel the FDA is moving in the right direction. [Union of Concerned Scientists, 7/20/2006 pdf file; New Jersey Star-Ledger, 7/21/2006]

Entity Tags: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Union of Concerned Scientists, US Food and Drug Administration

Timeline Tags: US Health Care

A survey conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Government Accountability Project (GAP) bolsters allegations that the Bush administration is pressuring climate scientists to produce material that does not contradict its position on global warming. The survey was distributed to 1,600 climate scientists at seven federal agencies. Of those, 279 responded. The survey found:
bullet Forty-six percent of the respondents indicated that they perceived or personally experienced pressure to remove the words “climate change,” “global warming,” or other similar terms from their writings.
bullet Forty-six percent said their writings had been changed or edited by a superior in a way that changed its meaning.
bullet Forty-six percent said they perceived or personally experienced new or unusual procedural requirements that impair climate-related work.
bullet Twenty-five percent of the respondents said they know of scientists who have actively objected to, resigned from, or removed themselves from a project because of pressure to change a scientific finding.
bullet 150 climate scientists said they personally experienced political interference in the past five years, for a total of at least 435 incidents.
bullet Seventy-eight percent of the scientists who indicated that their work involves controversial climate research said that they have personally experienced at least one incident of inappropriate interference with their work. Of those, more than one-quarter said they had experienced six or more such incidents during the last five years.
bullet Sixty-seven percent said their work environment has become less enjoyable over the last 5 years ago. This figure was the highest for scientists working at NASA (79 percent). [Union of Concerned Scientists, 1/30/2007 pdf file; Reuters, 1/30/2007]

Entity Tags: Government Accountability Project, Union of Concerned Scientists

Timeline Tags: Global Warming

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