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 Disseminating Research from Federal Agencies






William Ruckelshaus, the first EPA administrator under President Nixon, and his successor, Russell Train, have spoken out about the matter. Specifically, Ruckelshaus told the press, “Is the analysis flawed? That is a legitimate reason for not releasing [a science-based analysis]. But if you don’t like the outcome that might result from the analysis, that is not a legitimate reason.”1 Train commented, “My sense is that, from the beginning of the Bush administration, the White House has constantly injected itself into the way the EPA approaches and decides the critical issues before it. The agency has had little or no independence. I think that is a very great mistake, and one for which the American people could pay over the long run in compromised health and reduced quality of life.”2




Scientific advisors to government also weigh in on this matter. Dr. Wolfgang H.K. Panofsky, a distinguished physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project and served on the Presidential Scientific Advisory Committee and in other highlevel scientific advisory roles in the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations, states that the current administration has isolated itself from independent scientific advice to an unprecedented degree.3 Dr. Marvin Goldberger, a former president of the California Institute of Technology who has advised both Republican and Democratic administrations on nuclear weapons issues, compares the attitude of this administration to those he has served by stating, “Politics plays no role in scientists’ search for understanding and applications of the laws of nature. To ignore or marginalize scientific input to policy decisions, where relevant, on the basis of politics is to endanger our national economic and military security.”4

According to Dr. Margaret Scarlett, a former CDC staff member who served in the agency for 15 years, most recently in the Office of HIV/AIDS Policy, “The current administration has instituted an unheard-of level of micromanagement in the programmatic and scientific activities of CDC. We’re seeing a clear substitution of ideology for science and it is causing many committed scientists to leave the agency.”5 Scarlett also points out that, “Ronald Reagan was very uncomfortable with the issue of sex education and the transmission of HIV, which was still largely stigmatized at the time. Nonetheless, with the help of CDC, his administration got factual information out to every household in the country about the problem. His actions stand in dramatic contrast to the sorry record of the current administration on informing the public about issues related to sex education and HIV transmission.”6

REP America, the national grassroots organization of Republicans for Environmental Protection, has also raised concerns about the administration’s approach to scientific research: “Withholding of vital environmental information is getting to be a bad habit with the Bush administration.”7

1 Lee, New York Times, July 14, 2003.
2 Train,
3 Author interview with Wolfgang H.K. Panofsky, January 2004.
4 Author interview with Marvin Goldberger, January 2004.
5 Author interview with Margaret Scarlett, October 2003.
6 Author interview with Margaret Scarlett, October 2003.
7 Press release, REP America, July 2, 2003. Online at

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