Science Based Government

Timeline – The Assault on Science

2017 will be known as the year of a concerted assault on science-based policies in federal government agencies. Read on for just a brief summary of the most significant actions taken by the Trump administration:

1/25/17: In response to a media blackout ordered for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), entities such as “AltEPA” and “RogueNASA,” ostensibly created by frustrated federal employees, begin posting climate change data and other science-based information on social media.

2/3/17: The Department of Agriculture removes public access to animal welfare reports on thousands of facilities, including research labs.

4/5/17: The Council on Environmental Quality, part of the Executive Office of the President, withdraws guidance on climate change issued in August 2016.

4/10/17: Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces end of the National Commission on Forensic Science, which was started in 2013 to establish closer ties between law enforcement and researchers.

4/28/17: The EPA removes climate change data and other information from its website.

5/7/17: EPA chief Pruitt dismisses members of a key scientific review board.

6/1/17:  The president announces plans to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement.

8/7/17: 7: The Guardian reports that official emails, sent in the weeks after the inauguration to some USDA staff, advise use of terms such as “weather extremes” rather than “climate change.”

8/21/17: 21: The administration allows the charter for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s climate change assessment advisory committee to expire.

8/31/17: 31: The DOI limits most environmental impact studies to a year in length and resulting reports to no more than 150 pages. The studies previously lasted for years and could run 1,000 pages or more.

9/29/17: 29: The FDA delays required revisions to nutrition labeling by up to three years. The updates, which would have gone into effect in 2018, include more realistic portion sizes and the amount of added sugar in a product.

10/10/17: 10: The administration announces its intent to kill the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era initiative to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

10/12/17: 12: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announces the U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural and scientific heritage protection body, effective at the end of 2018.


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