The United States has an impressive history of investing in the capabilities and respecting the independence of scientists. This legacy has brought us sustained economic progress, science-based public health policy, and unequaled scientific leadership within the global community. However, actions by the Bush Administration threaten to undermine this legacy, and as a result, decisions are being made that have seriously detrimental consequences for our health, our safety, and our environment.
Across a broad range of issues-from childhood lead poisoning and mercury emissions to climate change, reproductive health, and nuclear weapons-this administration is distorting and censoring scientific findings that contradict its policies; it is manipulating the underlying science to align results with predetermined political decisions; and undermining the independence of science advisory panels by subjecting panel nominees to political litmus tests that have little or no bearing on their expertise; it is nominating unqualified individuals from outside the scientific mainstream or with industry ties; it is disbanding science advisory committees altogether.
These activities are of grave concern to members of the scientific community as well as to those who rely on government information to inform policy decisions. But they should also concern the American public, which places its trust in the government as an honest broker of scientific information and one that will protect our health and safety.
Our mainstream American values demand that policies should be informed by science not that science should be suppressed in the service of political dogma. These Republicans are out of step with our values.