Issue Date: October 31, 2011
Republicans Question Federal Science Integrity
Three Republican members of Congress are questioning what they call “the apparent collapse in the quality of scientific work being conducted at our federal agencies.” In a letter to John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy and science adviser to the President, Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) cite four examples of what they call agency scientific misconduct. One is the EPA Integrated Risk Information System’s hazard assessment of formaldehyde, which the National Research Council criticized earlier this year (C&EN, April 18, page 10). Another is the Department of Energy’s nuclear energy policy including the decision to close Yucca Mountain as a long-term storage site for nuclear waste. “We are concerned with data quality, integrity of methodologies and collection of information, agencies misrepresenting publicly the weight of scientific ‘facts,’ indefensible representation of scientific conclusions before our federal court system, and our fundamental notion of ‘sound’ science,” the lawmakers write. They ask Holdren to address questions specific to each example by Nov. 2.
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