EPA has issued a "clarification" of its SAB scientist-muzzling policy, which acknowledges that SAB members are free to talk to reporters — mostly — as long as they are speaking for themselves. Still, the Society of Professional Journalists wrote EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy December 1 declaring their dissatisfaction with the clarification.
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On a 229-191 party-line vote, the GOP-controlled House passed a bill reining in EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB) — authorizing conflicts of interest for its members and gagging them in communications about subjects they are expert on. Science integrity and environmental groups had opposed the bill, which the House passed on November 18, 2014.
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"Inside Story" editor Beth Daley interviews Chemical & Engineering News' Cheryl Hogue, who won first place in SEJ’s 13th annual awards for outstanding beat reporting small market, for stories including how microbeads in personal care products impact the environment and how the Small Business Association has become a mouthpiece for industry on chemical issues. Photo: Microbeads on penny; courtesy 5 Gyres Institute.SEJ Publication Types:
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In an August 15 email, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Chief of Staff Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming said EPA Science Advisor Bob Kavlock would review complaints from journalism (including SEJ) and open-government groups that scientists on EPA advisory panels were being told not to answer news-media or congressional inquiries without permission.
Journalism and science groups, including SEJ, protested an August 12, 2014, "don't talk" memo from EPA's chief of staff. The memo makes it clear: members of the agency's many science advisory panels are not to talk to the news media or Congress without permission. Attached to the memo was an "EPA Policy" restricting communications between Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) committee members and parties outside EPA.
The startling admission only bolsters critics who say the conservative Harper government is suppressing science which does not support its politics — for example, its policies on global warming or oil sands.Region:
Free online publication of peer-reviewed scientific articles is essential to environmental journalists. One publisher, Elsevier, caused a stir recently by demanding that several universities take their own scholars' research down from the web or social media.Topics on the Beat: