Scientific Research Subject to Political Interference at NOAA

On August 14, 2018, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) published the results of a survey of 63,000 scientists employed by the federal government. The survey, which was conducted by UCS and Iowa State University in early 2018, gathered information about scientific integrity at 16 federal agencies. According to USC, the results “demonstrate significant challenges related to the development and use of science” within federal agencies.

The survey results suggest that scientific research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), within the Department of Commerce, may have been subject to political interference. One NOAA scientist who was surveyed reported having “been told to avoid scientific work that might link environmental problems with the actions of U.S. industry.” Another scientist state that industry has been “given power to direct . . . scientific conclusions (and opinions based on the science) that would affect them.”