Climate Science Watch submitted our comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s public review draft Scientific Integrity Policy on September 6. We appreciate EPA’s posting of the agency’s draft policy for review and offered comments focusing on three areas of particular concern to us: (1) media communications policy; (2) whistleblower protections; and (3) government accountability in the process of developing and implementing the policy.
CSW comments EPA Scientific Integrity draft policy (Full 5-page text of “Climate Science Watch Comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Scientific Integrity Policy – Public Review Draft, 5 August 2011”
Summary of our key recommendations:
- The policy must be strengthened to ensure that EPA scientists are protected from interference with scientific integrity by political appointees and supervisors.
- The policy must be strengthened and clarified to ensure that communication between agency scientists and the media is without barriers that could otherwise prevent or delay open dialogue and the dissemination of scientific information to the public.
- Explicit whistleblower protections must be included to ensure not only government accountability, but also protection for agency employees who exercise their free speech rights to challenge institutional illegality, abuse of power, or other betrayals of the public trust.
- The process of developing and implementing this scientific integrity policy requires increased transparency and accountability.
Climate Science Watch concurred with public comments submitted by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), that the draft policy lacks essential protections for EPA scientists, including whistleblowing rights and freedom of speech, and does not place adequate responsibility on supervisors to uphold the principles of scientific integrity.