Although climate change is one the biggest issues facing our country and much of the world, the Trump administration has largely treated scientists’ assessments as fiction and denied the serious impact it is having on the environment.
On Thursday, Democrats introduced a bill to prevent political interference with public science research. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) introduced the legislation in light of “President Trump’s multi-agency assault.”
The Science Integrity Act would ensure that political considerations do not factor into scientific conclusions. The legislation would prohibit the suppression of scientific findings and allow scientists to to answer media inquiries about their work without prior agency approval.
Tonko said in a statement:
‘Independent, rigorous scientific research is one of the most powerful tools we have for advancing the public interest and keeping the American people safe.
‘President Trump’s multi-agency assault on environmental standards has hinged on efforts to distort, bury and even rewrite credible public scientific findings, including his absurd denial of the growing climate crisis and efforts to cover up evidence that the American people are being exposed to dangerous toxins.’
‘While it’s not the first time it has been under attack, this time feels worse. That’s why we need to answer the call of our times and stand up for science.’
According to Newsweek:
‘The goal of the Scientific Integrity Act, according to the bill’s sponsors, is to ensure Americans trust the science behind public policy decisions, and to address what they see as recent Trump-led distortions of scientific research on topics such as climate change and reproductive health.’
Senator Schatz shared his concern over reports that Mr. Trump will create a White House panel attempting to undermine government research on the climate.
‘And the person he will choose to lead this panel is the same man who compared climate science to Nazi propaganda.’
According to Schatz and Tonko, the legislation is a “longstanding concern that has taken on newfound urgency under President Trump.” They cite the fact that Trump has been “burying reports on public health risks” over the past two years.
‘This may not be the first time science has been under attack in the United States—climate denial has been alive and well for some time now—but from a historical perspective, we are in one of the worst moments, if not the worst moment, for science.
‘Particularly government science. Our bill is one of many ways that we can answer the call of our times and stand up for science. As Thomas Jefferson put it, information is the currency of democracy. And government science is some of the most important information we can have in times like these.’
Rep. Tonko also added in a statement:
‘[W]e know the Trump Administration has taken direct steps to block, distort or obscure federal science reports—they even reportedly banned scientists at CDC from using the terms “evidence-based” or “science-based” in their
budget documents last year! Science simply shouldn’t be politicized regardless of party.’
Featured image is a screenshot from YouTube