Science is at the core of a healthy democracy. But for years, presidential administrations have, in differing ways, sidelined scientific evidence and attacked scientific integrity.
Below is a running list of attacks on science. They include disappearing data, silenced scientists, suppressed studies, and other assaults on science-based policy. The list provides a representative sample of threats to the federal scientific enterprise—and a warning of what we face in the future.
Attacks on science
Email Showing Attempted Manipulation of CDC COVID-19 Study was Buried
The CDC was ordered to destroy an email that contained evidence of a political official attempting to interfere with a COVID-19 study.
OSHA Failed to Protect Workers From COVID-19
The Inspector General at the US DOL issued a report on how OSHA failed to enact and enforce science-based safety measures during the pandemic, which in turn failed to protect workers across the country from COVID-19.
EPA Official Blocked Attempts to Inform Communities of Cancer-Causing Gas
According to the EPA Inspector General, the agency delayed informing frontline communities of the health risks they face due to living near facilities that emit ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing gas.
Trump Administration Prevented the Publication of Climate Change Research
For three years, the Trump administration delayed an update to the EPA's peer-reviewed report on climate change indicators.
White House Added Political Review Process for Scientific Assessments of Chemicals
The White House’s OMB mandated a review process over the EPA health assessments on the safety of chemicals. This process lacks transparency and opens up opportunities for delay and political interference.
Trump Administration Manipulated COVID-19 Data to Justify Reopening
The Trump administration manipulated disease models to justify lifting COVID-19 restrictions.
Trump Administration Sidelined the Science on a Threatened Owl Species
The Trump administration removed over three million acres of critical habitat for the northern spotted owl, a threatened species, and ignored the concerns raised by federal scientists.
Trump Administration Censored Information on Water Pollution, Climate Change, and Endangered Species
The Trump administration made approximately 1,400 changes to agency websites that removed science-based information on environmental issues, such as water pollution, climate change, and endangered species.
White House Posts Climate Change Denialist Misinformation
Two White House officials posted a series of debunked scientific reports that deny the existence of human-caused climate change.
Political Appointees Pressure Scientists to Cherry-Pick Data on California Wildfires
Political appointees at the DOI pushed federal scientists to cherry-pick data on the 2018 California wildfires to support political positions.