When Politics Trump Science: The Erosion of Science-Based Regulation

Webb, Romany M.; Kurz, Lauren; Rosenthal, Susan

"Science is science and facts are facts. My administration will ensure that there will be total [scientific] transparency and accountability without political bias.” That was the promise made in September 2016 by then-candidate Donald Trump when asked how he would protect federal scientists from political interference in their work. Since taking office, however, President Trump has led a concerted effort to undermine federal scientific research, particularly in areas where research findings contradict his own views or undermine the basis of his deregulatory agenda.

That effort is documented in the Silencing Science Tracker, an online database that records anti-science actions taken by the federal government. Drawing on three-and-a-half years of tracker data, this Comment analyzes the Trump Administration’s evolving war on science and shows how it is changing the way federal agencies perform, use, and communicate scientific research. We focus primarily on climate science, which has been the subject of particularly fierce attacks under President Trump, though he has also targeted other areas. His actions could have long-lasting consequences, damaging the role of science in regulation for years to come.

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Environmental Law Reporter

More About This Work

Academic Units
Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
Published Here
September 21, 2020