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Bipartisan Report Says Trump Abuses Push Federal Science to "Crisis"



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WASHINGTON – In one month in 2017, the Trump Administration's Environmental Protection Agency blocked scientists from speaking at a climate change conference, its interior ministry forwarded a political letter to US Customs and Border Protection only after eliminating the concern of biologists about the impact of the border wall on wildlife and the FBI published a crime report that left out dozens of murder and arrest records.

This October was quite typical of the Trump administration, according to a new report from New York University led by Pret Bharara, a former U.S. Attorney and Christine Todd Wittman, who led the EPA for George W. Bush.

Each president has, over the past two decades, somewhat undermined research and introduced policy into science, the report said. But, to summarize, "we are now in a crisis point, with almost weekly breaches of previously observed safeguards." The report calls for the creation of rigid new standards to consolidate scientific independence.

The study is due to be formally published on Thursday, following reports that Acting President Trump's office chief Mick Mulvaney has pressured a commercial secretary to reprimand synoptics who appear to contradict the president after he erroneously stated that a recent hurricane could cause damage to Alabama. Earlier this summer, the State Department's intelligence analyst resigned after protesting after the White House tried to edit scientific evidence on climate change and then blocked it from entering Congress' permanent record. For months, the White House has debated a plan to publicly question the well-established scientific findings on the severity of climate change.

"Although the threat to the independence of scientific data did not begin with this administration, it certainly accelerated late."

A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the report's findings.

Report – said Ms. Wittman, a Republican who also served as governor of New Jersey. ] is the second in a series of studies conducted by the Working Group on Democracy, launched last year at the Brennan Justice Center at the School of Law at New York University. Both Mr Bharara and Ms Wittman were critical of Mr Trump, but stressed that any impulse of any president from any side needed to be strengthened by laws against financial conflict, political interference with law enforcement and the suppression of science. [19659009] On October 13, 2017, the Department of the Interior sent a confirmation letter to border patrol officials reviewing Mr. Trump's proposed wall along the southwest border, but eliminated the concern of the physician about the damage and physical damage the nature of the area, according to the report. A few days later E.P.A. banned three agency scientists from speaking at a Rhode Island conference on the effects of climate change on Narragansett Bay. A week after that, F.B.I. published its annual crime report, 70 percent fewer than the datasheets. The changes, according to the report at the time, did not go through the normal review process.

"Policies governing the health and well-being of the public and our shared environment must be based on sound, independent science," Ms. Wittman said in an email . "For the public to lose faith in the process, it will question everything that has been done to make our drugs and food safer and our environment healthier."

The authors claim that without the action of Congress, the future administrations of either party. could further undermine the independence of federal scientific data. Among the changes he recommended was legislation requiring all federal agencies that carry out scientific research to formulate clear standards and report on how political officials interact with career scientists.

While this seems a long-standing blow in the current Congress, where even defining scientific integrity is controversial, the authors stated that they were optimistic that the rules governing scientific advisory bodies could earn bipartisan support. New York State Representative Paul Tonko's legislation on the development of scientific integrity standards has 217 co-authors but none is Republican.

"There is truth, and there is science, and it should not fluctuate whether one is a liberal or a conservative, a Democrat or a Republican," Mr. Bharara said in an interview.

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