First 100 -- Obama Gets High Marks on Scientific Integrity

For Immediate Release

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Elliott Negin
Media Director
202-331-5439
enegin@ucsusa.org

First 100 -- Obama Gets High Marks on Scientific Integrity

Statement by Francesca Grifo, Scientific Integrity Program Director, Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON - On the occasion of President Barack Obama's first 100 days in
office, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) gave the president high
marks on fulfilling his campaign promise to restore scientific
integrity to federal policymaking. But without a long-term plan and the
commitment to see it through, UCS warned that history could repeat
itself.

Below is a statement by Francesca Grifo, senior scientist and director of UCS's Scientific Integrity Program:

"We are thrilled that President Obama has taken a personal interest
in depoliticizing the federal government's use of science and is taking
steps to address this challenge. Scientists are heartened by
commitments from officials at all levels to improve transparency,
strengthen protections for scientists, and seriously consider the
science when crafting regulations that protect the public.

"The seeds have been planted, but they must be nurtured. President
Obama has directed his science advisor to develop a plan for restoring
scientific integrity to federal policymaking. The president has said
the plan must make government decision making more transparent and
protect the rights of scientists so they're able to do their jobs
without interference. This plan should be both meaningful and
practical, and the Office of Science and Technology must be empowered
to carry it out.

"That said, no one could right the wrongs of the previous
administration in only 100 days. Fundamentally changing how the
government works is unimaginably complex. We recognize that restoring
scientific integrity to federal policymaking will take time and
persistence.

"Fundamental scientific integrity reform is critical to protecting
our health, safety and environment. Because science is ever more
essential to our nation's most pressing policy decisions, it is
increasingly subject to political spin and manipulation. The special
interests that so successfully convinced the Bush administration to
misuse scientific information have not gone away.

"In the meantime, there are issues that need immediate attention,
including fully restoring science to Endangered Species Act decisions.
And there are decisions that will have to be made over the next several
months, such as how to update air quality standards. I'm pleased
President Obama has signaled that scientific integrity is a high
priority and we intend to ensure it stays on his administration's punch
list."

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The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.

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