A new nonpartisan report says scientific independence is eroding under the Trump Administration, according to the Guardian.
"[W]e are at a crisis point, with almost weekly violations of previously respected safeguards," says the report from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. It comes from the National Task Force on Rule of Law and Democracy, which was co-chaired by Preet Bharara, a former US attorney, and Christine Todd Whitman, the former director of the Environmental Protection Agency and former governor of New Jersey.
Whitman tells the New York Times that while threats to scientific independence didn't start with the current administration, it has ramped up under its watch.
For instance, the report notes that the acting White House chief of staff allegedly told the Commerce Secretary to have the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issue a misleading statement about a hurricane's path to support an incorrect statement from the president. Additionally, it says the White House suppressed an EPA report that found a toxin found in many states' water supplies caused health issues at a lower level than previously thought.
"Policies governing the health and welfare of the public and of our shared environment have to be based in credible, independent science," Whitman tells the Times in an email. "For the public to lose faith in that process will call into question everything that has been done to make our drugs and food safe and our environment healthier."
She and her co-authors call for new scientific integrity standards to be implemented, for better rules to prevent the manipulation or suppression of research, and for improved public access to government data, the Guardian adds.