10 New Year's Resolutions for Fed Science

For Immediate Release

Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)
Contact: 

Meghan Thornton 202-331-6943

10 New Year's Resolutions for Fed Science

Group Emphasizes Agency Reform, Transparency

WASHINGTON - When President-elect Barack Obama formally nominated Steven Chu for energy secretary yesterday, he emphasized Chu's
credentials as a Nobel Prize-winning physicist as a harbinger of
change. "His appointment should send a signal to all that my
administration will value science," Obama said during the press
conference. "We will make decisions based on facts, and we understand
that the facts demand bold action."

To
help the incoming administration meet that commitment, the Union of
Concerned Scientists (UCS) today issued "10 New Year's Resolutions for
a New Administration," which recommends steps the Obama administration
can take to restore scientific integrity to federal policymaking. The
resolutions are based on new UCS science policy and good government
proposals, which the group also released today and already has shared
with the Obama transition team. (For the policy proposals, go to: www.ucsusa.org/federalscience.)

"Fortunately,
political interference in science is a problem with a solution," said
Dr. Francesca Grifo, director of the UCS Scientific Integrity Program.
"We've provided 10 quick, easy and inexpensive actions the new
administration can take to get off on the right foot.

"The
Obama administration will face immense challenges that can only be met
if it has access to the best available scientific information," she
added. "The new leaders of science-based federal agencies must make
scientific integrity reform a priority if they are to regain the faith
of all Americans and make fully informed decisions that affect our
health and safety."

During the Bush administration, more than 15,000 U.S.
scientists signed a petition denouncing political interference in
science and calling for reform. UCS's recommendations are consistent
with a statement issued in 2008 by scientific community leaders calling
on the U.S. government to establish conditions that support robust federal scientific research and analysis (available at www.ucsusa.org/scientificfreedom).

The
resolutions focus on increasing transparency in federal agencies and
improving the way that science informs the decision-making process:

1.   Defend
Americans from unsafe drugs, toys and other products by requiring that
federal agency leaders protect employees who blow the whistle when
science is misused.

2.   Allow the public access to tremendous scientific resources by letting government scientists tell us what they know.

3.   Protect the air we breathe by obeying the law and setting air pollution standards based on science.

4.  
Restore our faith in government by providing more information to the
public about how science-based policy decisions are made.

5.   Use science to conserve our natural heritage for future generations.

6.    Collect enough information to give us flexibility to meet future challenges and keep tabs on current problems.

7.    Hold your administration accountable to high scientific integrity standards.

8.    Keep politics out of science by reining in the power of the White House to tamper with purely scientific analyses.

9.    Safeguard
our health by putting the Environmental Protection Agency back in
charge of evaluating the potential dangers of chemicals without
interference from other agencies.

10.  Protect us by shining a bright light on all agency meetings held with special interests so we can   understand their influence.  

For a more detailed list of New Year's resolutions for the new administration, go to: http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/solutions/big_picture_solutions/new-years-resolutions-detailed.html.

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The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading U.S. science-based nonprofit organization working for a healthy environment and a safer world. Founded in 1969, UCS is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and also has offices in Berkeley, Chicago and Washington, D.C. For more information, go to www.ucsusa.org.

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