The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Elliott Negin,Media Director,

White House Transparency Memo is Helpful, But Short on Specific

Statement by Francesca Grifo, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Scientific Integrity Program


White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Peter Orzag today
released an open government directive in response to a January 2009
presidential memorandum on government openness and transparency. The memo asked
the White House chief technology officer and the OMB director to develop an
open government directive within 120 days based on the principles that
government should be transparent, participatory and collaborative. The
directive is available
Below is a statement by
Francesca Grifo, senior scientist and director of the Union of Concerned
Scientists' Scientific Integrity Program:

"The Obama administration did
a great job soliciting public input and proposed a number of excellent ideas
for improving openness and accountability in government, but many crucial
elements of a comprehensive reform plan are still in process."

"How can OMB institutionalize
openness and accountability? By requiring agencies to include several provisions
in their plans: First, the federal government should direct agencies to allow
scientists to communicate their research and analyses with the press. Second,
agencies should improve public access to scientific research by making it
easier for government scientists to publish their research results. Third,
agencies should follow the lead of the White House and increase public
disclosure of meetings agency officials have with people outside the government.

"I am encouraged that the
administration recognizes that openness needs to be part of the core DNA of all
agency operations. It's even more important for the forthcoming directives on
regulatory reform and scientific integrity to include specific and significant
steps that promote openness and accountability.

"We look forward to working
with the administration to adopt the necessary reforms for transformational

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.