After eight years of an administration that politicized science using a variety of methods, we look to the Obama administration for significant change – but fixing unhealthy relationships between the White House, federal agency officials, and government scientists will not happen automatically, we told the Washington Independent.

We will have much more to say on this subject.  Creating greater transparency within the government is one part of the solution.


Science and the Next President
Addressing the Politicization of Science

By Suemedha Sood
Washington Independent

…[A]fter eight years of science taking a back seat to the demands of politics and commercial interests, it won’t be so easy for the next president to reverse the course of the Bush administration.

That’s the view of Rick Piltz, director of the nonpartisan Climate Science Watch. For 10 years, Piltz worked for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, a joint project of 13 government agencies, where he says he saw firsthand the conflicts between the White House and government scientists. Piltz worked in an office that supports interagency leadership on climate science research — research that some federal employees have accused the Bush administration of distorting to achieve political goals.

One thing Piltz would like to see changed by the next president is the influence that political appointees have had over government scientists during the Bush administration.  Many scientists have complained that their research findings were altered by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget to avoid spending money on the problems the research raised.

Piltz says this situation can be corrected by requiring that communications between political appointees and agency scientists or managers be transparent.

“You should be able to see…the comments [to determine if they are] scientifically legitimate,” he said.  “Because Congress doesn’t tell White House political appointees to make rules.  It tells the EPA to make rules and then Congress funds them to make those rules.”

Read the full artice here.