Tuesday, 19 December 2017 13:51

Community Statement to OMB on Science-Based Decision-Making and Policy

The Honorable Mick Mulvaney
Office of Management and Budget
725 17th Street, NW Washington, DC 20503

Dear Mr. Mulvaney,

As this Administration nears the end of its first year, we the undersigned science, engineering and higher-education organizations are writing to respectfully request your assistance and commitment in ensuring that the federal government utilizes science-based decision making in its policy formulations, that scientific information is communicated in an accurate manner and reflected as such in government documents, reports and web-sites. Recent reports regarding alleged recommendations to restrict the use of certain science and policy terminology in budget documents by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) generated alarm among the scientific community about the role of science in government.

While we very much appreciate the CDC director’s clarifying statements that there are no words that are banned at their agency and that they will continue to utilize scientific evidence in setting policies, our community remains concerned and request you encourage the heads of all federal agencies to support the use of science in decision making and to support the scientists who produce the knowledge upon which the nation’s economy relies.

At the interface of science and society, the federal government and its research agencies play a critically important role. The capacity to understand and effectively address important policy issues depends on access to relevant, accurately communicated scientific and technical information. At the same time, government agencies provide an important link between the public -- as beneficiaries of federally funded research -- and federal information, including scientific and technological information. Hence, it is vital that government agencies communicate and provide access to scientifically accurate information.

Scientific and technological knowledge is the foundation for future research, experimentation, debate, consensus-building and understanding. Scientifically accurate information builds the foundation for public policies that promote the well-being of people and communities. The selection, removal or replacement of scientific information for ideological or political reasons compromises the integrity of the process of receiving scientific advice.

As we soon enter a new year, we believe it would be an appropriate time for OMB to work with the heads of all government agencies to ensure that they are basing their decisions, communications, policies and regulations on the best scientific evidence. The undersigned would be pleased to work with you in accomplishing this important goal.