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Delaware's two U.S. Senators join effort to protect scientists

Delaware Public Media

Thousands of scientists are calling on elected officials in Washington to protect their research from political influence. And Delaware’s two U.S. Senators have joined an effort to answer that call.


5,000 U.S. scientists signed an open letter to Congress and President-elect Trump in December, saying research should play a bigger role in policymaking, and it should be unfettered by politics.


That letter was written shortly after the Trump administration raised fears it was trying to silence government scientists and interfere in their work. 


Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons joined with 26 Democratic Senators last week to introduce legislation that would do exactly what these scientists want.  The bill is called the Scientific Integrity Act and Carper said it’s needed now more than ever.  


"There used to be a song called “Blinded by Science.” And these days some people are blinded not by science but by ignorance,” Carper said. 


The Scientific Integrity Act would provide protections for researchers who want to present their findings to the public, the press, or lawmakers. And it would prevent political appointees from suppressing scientific findings in government agencies.    


The bill would also direct federal agencies to create scientific integrity policies that protect whistleblowers and insulate researchers from outside influence.


28 Democrats in the Senate have signed the legislation but it’s unlikely it will gain traction in Republican-led Congress.  

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