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Neguse, Bonamici, Casten Introduce Legislation to Address Climate Censorship at Federal Agencies

December 6, 2019
Press Release


Washington D.C.— Today, Representatives Joe Neguse (CO-2), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1), and Sean Casten (IL-6), all members of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, introduced legislation to address climate censorship at federal agencies. Specifically, the Stop Climate Censorship Act, requires any political appointee at a federal agency seeking to remove content regarding climate change in a scientific study or public communication to publicly provide the underlying scientific reason for doing so.


In light of recent attempts by this Administration to censor science, including threats in September to fire NOAA officials who failed to back President Trump’s inaccurate statements on Hurricane Dorian, legislation to prevent the political interference of federal science is critically needed. 


“In Colorado, the impacts of climate change are felt every day. Rising temperatures have led to accelerated snow melt and increased flooding and erosion, which negatively affect Colorado’s freshwater sources and national parks,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “We need to be able to understand the full effects of climate change so we can prepare for them and fight this existential threat. It is absolutely critical, therefore, that researchers at our institutions and our federal labs are free to do their work without the threat of political censorship. The Stop Climate Censorship Act will take important steps towards addressing the issue of climate censorship for our scientists here in Colorado and across the country.”


“By acknowledging the scale of the climate crisis, we can implement bold policies to address it,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “To be successful, those policies must be informed by the best available science. At a time when the Trump Administration regularly dismisses and denies climate science, it is our responsibility to protect the work of federal science agencies and to make sure that scientists are heard and supported rather than censored. I’m pleased to work with Congressman Neguse and Congressman Casten on the Stop Climate Censorship Act to deter the suppression, censorship, and manipulation of climate science. The future of our planet and the health of our communities depend on our access to evidence-based science and the actions we take today.”


“The climate crisis is the single greatest existential threat to mankind, yet this Administration has repeatedly barred government scientists, who are simply trying to do their job, from talking about or presenting the public with crucial facts about the threats posed by climate change. We simply cannot adequately prepare for the impacts of the climate crisis if the federal government and the public do not have the best available science to guide our decisions,” said Congressman Sean Casten. “I am proud to join my colleagues, Congressman Neguse and Congresswoman Bonamici, in introducing the Stop Climate Censorship Act which will help prevent political censorship of climate scientists across the federal government.”


“Irrespective of anyone's political party affiliation, this is important legislation for those seeking improved accountability among political appointees and ongoing access to important information about climate change for decision-making,” said Max Boykoff, Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research and Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder.


“We can’t make good decisions if we’re not working from the best available information—and federal scientists can’t give us their best work if they’re afraid their findings will make them a political target,” said Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Since climate change is affecting nearly every facet of our lives, we have to be able to incorporate accurate, up-to-date information about climate change into our policy decisions. Federal agencies must listen to the science and be honest with the public, and that means allowing scientists who research climate change to do their work free of censorship or political interference.” 


Bonamici has long been a vocal opponent of the Trump Administration’s efforts to undermine and ignore science. She questioned a witness from the EPA and Administrator Wheeler about the Agency’s proposed “Censored Science” rule and testified against it at the EPAShe also led her colleagues in opposing the Secret Science Reform Act and the HONEST Act, legislative iterations of the proposed rule considered by the Science Committee, yet never passed by Congress, over the last five years. She has been an active supporter of the Scientific Integrity Act, which would direct federal agencies that conduct or fund scientific research to develop and enforce scientific integrity policies to make sure that scientists and engineers adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards when conducting research, drawing conclusions, and disseminating findings.