Federal Manager's Daily Report

PEER: executive branch agencies cannot be trusted to police the accuracy of their own science.

Policies created in the Obama administration aimed at protecting scientific research by federal employees from political interference were carried out in an “uneven” way during that administration and are “largely ignored” today, says a report from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

Under a 2009 presidential directive, agencies involved in scientific research must have policies against suppression or manipulation of controversial findings and protections against retaliation against the researchers.

The PEER organization said that of the 57 allegations made at Interior since 2011 only one was sustained, and of the 30 at Agriculture since 2014 only five. Of the 99 at EPA since 2013, only four were substantiated and almost all of the rest were dismissed, designated as inactive, or still under investigation–including one dating to 2013. Meanwhile NOAA does not make figures available on confidentiality grounds, it said.

The organization called on Congress to set new standards and safeguards that are “externally enforceable,” saying that its findings show that “executive branch agencies cannot be trusted to police the accuracy of their own science.”