Administration Takes Positive Step in Publicizing Visitor Logs, Science Group Says; Federal Agencies Must Follow Suit

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Lisa Nurnberger, 202-331-6959

Administration Takes Positive Step in Publicizing Visitor Logs, Science Group Says; Federal Agencies Must Follow Suit

Statement by Francesca Grifo, UCS

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration announced
today that it will release the names of most of the visitors to the
White House. The president faced significant criticism for continuing
former President George W. Bush's policy of keeping visitor logs
secret.

The following is a statement by
Francesca Grifo, senior scientist and director of the Scientific
Integrity Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS):

"Today's
announcement sends a signal that the Obama administration is getting
serious about transparency. But why does the public have to wait as
long as four months to find out who has been meeting with the
administration? The administration could make major decisions within that time frame.

"The administration also has a huge loophole. It can label meetings 'particularly sensitive,' and then it does not have to tell us who they're meeting with. The administration must develop clear standards for meetings that it considers particularly sensitive.

"Finally,
this new 'open log' policy -- with a shorter lag time and a clear
definition of what is sensitive -- should extend beyond the White House
to federal agencies. President Obama's science adviser, John Holdren,
is expected to issue a new scientific integrity directive. It should
instruct federal agencies to follow the lead of the White House and
make their visitor logs publicly available -- on a daily basis. It's
critical that Americans know who's participating in these meetings,
because they can influence rules affecting public health and the environment."

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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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