Independent Science News has just published “What Happened to Obama’s Promise to Restore Scientific Integrity?” by Jonathan Latham, PhD.

Brief summary:

For plenty of people, including many outside academia, President Obama was elected as a champion of rationality and integrity. In the standard narrative, after the corruption of the Bush era, President Obama would return enlightenment values to government. Thus, in his inauguration speech the new President proposed to “restore science” to its rightful position. In his own words, it was “a key campaign promise.”

The President duly ordered measures to turn his promise into a reality. For a while, the resulting policy developments were closely watched, but press interest faded. However, the latest (i.e. slowest) agency to adopt the President’s scientific integrity regime is arguably the most important and certainly is the most interesting. In 2013 the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) appointed Francesca Grifo as its Officer of Scientific Integrity. Dr Grifo joined EPA from the Union of Concerned Scientists where she headed its scientific integrity program. Her first report has just been published. This illuminating report shows Grifo has ducked the challenge of bringing scientific integrity to the EPA.

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