Explanation: Research Hindrance

Silencing Science Tracker

Explanation: Research Hindrance

2018-11 Climate Change Omitted from Oceans Research Plan Federal, White House Government Censorship, Research Hindrance Climate

The White House published a new report, titled “Science and Technology for America’s Oceans,” identifying research priorities for oceans science and technology. The report omits a section discussing research priorities with respect to “the ocean’s role in climate,” which had appeared in all previous versions of the report.

2018-10-24 Climate Change Omitted from List of EPA Research Objectives EPA, Federal Government Censorship, Research Hindrance Climate

EPA published a draft “Air and Energy Strategic Research Action Plan” identifying research needed to address its “strategic objectives and mandates to improve air quality.” Unlike previous versions adopted during the Obama administration, the Action Plan does not list climate change preparation as a “research objective.”

2018-09-09 Scientific Data and Records to be Destroyed by DOI DOI, Federal Government Censorship, Research Hindrance Other

DOI filed a “Request for Records Disposition Authority” with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). In the request, DOI seeks permission from NARA to destroy records relating to its conservation, land use, energy, and water programs. Many of the records document the findings of scientific research or contain data needed to conduct such research.

2018-09-03 FWS Officials Interfered in Scientific Study DOI, Federal Research Hindrance Other

Scientists from Oklahoma State University and the University of Georgia were engaged by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to contribute to a study of the impact of farming on an endangered insect. The scientists allege that FWS officials dismissed concerns they raised about the study’s methodology and pressured them to “work on a rushed timeline at odds with what they saw as good science.”

2018-08-14 USDA Scientists Prevented from Researching “Politically Contentious” Topics Federal, USDA Research Hindrance Climate, Other

A survey of federal government scientists found evidence of political interference in scientific research at USDA. The survey found, among other things, that resources have been shifted away from USDA programs and offices involved in “politically contentious” research.

2018-08-14 FWS Scientists Prevented from Discussing or Researching “Politically Contentious” Topics DOI, Federal Government Censorship, Research Hindrance Climate, Other

A survey of scientists at DOI’s Fish and Wildlife Service found that many have been told not to work on topics deemed “politically contentious” and to omit “politically contentious” words, including “climate change” and “science,” from their reports.

2018-08-14 USGS Scientists Prevented from Researching “Politically Contentious” Topics DOI, Federal Research Hindrance Climate, Other

A survey of scientists at DOI’s U.S. Geological Survey found that many have been asked or told not to work on topics deemed “politically contentious.”

2018-08-14 Scientific Research Subject to Political Interference at NOAA DOC, Federal Research Hindrance Climate, Other

A survey of federal government scientists found evidence of political interference in scientific research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The survey found, among other things, that scientists have been told to avoid research linking environmental problems to action by industry.

2018-07-31 Climate Change Omitted from List of White House R&D Priorities Federal, White House Budget Cuts, Government Censorship, Research Hindrance Climate

The White House Office of Management and Budget and Office of Science and Technology Policy jointly released a memorandum outlining the Trump administration’s research and development priorities. Unlike previous versions, issued during the Obama administration, the memorandum does not list climate change as a priority area.

2018-06-20 Senators Request Review of NSF Grants Congress, Federal, NSF Research Hindrance Climate

Four Republican Senators requested that the Inspector General of the National Science Foundation (NSF) commence a review of its grant-making process. The Senators allege that NSF has issued several grants in violation of federal law, including one supporting a program intended to educate meteorologists about climate change.

2018-03-23 Charters of BLM Advisory Councils Revised DOI, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation, Research Hindrance Climate, Other

DOI revised the charters of twenty-one resource advisory councils responsible for advising the Bureau of Land Management. Under the revised charters, councils are required to “provide recommendations for implementation” of various executive orders and secretarial orders, leading to concerns that they will be put “in a position of implementing an agenda rather than providing solid advice.”

2018-01-17 NIEHS Director’s Involvement in Scientific Study Investigated Congress, Federal Government Censorship, Research Hindrance Other

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology announced it was reviewing the involvement of Dr. Linda Birnbaum, the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, in a study of federal toxics regulation and requested that HHS also commence a review.

2018-01 DOE Officials Pressured Researchers to Change Report DOE, Federal Research Hindrance Climate, Other

Researchers at the National Energy Technology Laboratory were pressured, by DOE officials, to change a report on electric system reliability during extreme weather events. The changes were purportedly intended to bolster the Trump administration’s claims that retention of coal-fired power plants is vital to maintain reliability.

2018-01 Water Testing Blocked by South Carolina Mayor Local Govt., SC, State Research Hindrance Other

The mayor of Denmark in South Carolina, Gerald Wright, refused to allow a Virginia Tech professor, Marc Edwards, to test the city’s drinking water supplies for possible contamination. Mayor Wright asserted that the testing was unnecessary because the city’s water had already been assessed by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control and found to be safe.

2017-12-28 New Grants Process Adopted by DOI DOI, Federal Budget Cuts, Research Hindrance Other

DOI staff were directed to ensure that grants to outside groups promote the Trump Administration’s policies and have certain grants of $50,000 or more approved by political appointees.

2017-11-01 Bill Obstructing Medical Research Introduced in Iowa IA, State Research Hindrance Other

A bill was introduced in the Iowa legislature that would, if enacted, prohibit the transfer or use of fetal body parts. Opponents of the bill say it will prevent vital medical research using fetal tissue.

2017-11 Research into Sea-Ice Cover Obstructed by Congress Congress, Federal Research Hindrance Climate

Congress ordered the dismantling of a back-up satellite needed to investigate the impact of climate change on sea-ice in the poles.

2017-08 EPA Grants Reviewed by Political Appointee EPA, Federal Budget Cuts, Research Hindrance Climate

EPA announced that it will require new and certain existing grants to be approved by a political appointee, who has told staff he is looking for references to “climate change.”

2017-05-03 Missouri Stream Gauges To Be Deactivated MO, State Budget Cuts, Research Hindrance Other

Due to state budget cuts, the Missouri Water Science Center will be forced to deactivate 20% of the state’s river and stream gauges, beginning in July 2017.

2017-03-29 Climate Science Criticized in Congressional Hearing Congress, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation, Research Hindrance Climate

At a hearing of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Rep. Lamar Smith criticized climatologists, asserting that they often “operate outside the principles of the scientific method.” Rep. Smith also questioned the accuracy of climate projections, saying that constitute “[a]larmist predictions [that] amount to nothing more than wild guesses.”

2017-03-08 Research into Industrial Hemp Prevented by Nevada Governor NV, State Research Hindrance Other

Nevada Governor Susana Martinez vetoed a bill authorizing the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to adopt rules for research into industrial hemp. As a result of the veto, research into industrial hemp remains prohibited in Nevada.

2017-03 WSU Researcher Investigated by Washington Legislators State, WA Government Censorship, Research Hindrance Other

Washington State Representative Joel Kretz and State Senator Mark Schoesler filed a scientific misconduct complaint against a Washington State University (WSU) professor in relation to a 2014 study he had conducted on wolf predation. Representative Kretz had previously sought to discredit the study, including by having the professor fired by WSU.

2017-01-25 EPA Scientists’ Research Subject to Review Before Publication EPA, Federal Government Censorship, Research Hindrance Climate, Other

The head of communications for the EPA transition team indicated that agency scientists would be required to have their research reviewed before publication.