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Policy

Investigators to probe scientific integrity at U.S. agencies

by Cheryl Hogue
October 16, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 41

U.S. congressional investigators will examine whether the Trump Administration is respecting scientific integrity in federal agencies. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) requested the probe by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress. His move came after reports that political appointees were screening scientific grant applications at the Environmental Protection Agency and that officials across the government were removing references to climate change from agency websites. Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee, asked GAO to determine whether the Trump Administration has violated scientific integrity policies adopted under the Obama Administration. Those policies followed controversies about scientific integrity during the Administration of President George W. Bush, including a policy that GAO determined was limiting the scientific credibility of the Environmental Protection Agency’s health assessments of pollutants. Nelson says, “It is vital that science be impartial and free from interference, suppression or distortion.” He adds, “Scientists must be free to carry out their work without interference.”

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