The Department of Energy released an updated “scientific integrity policy” yesterday, a ploy cooked up with a Democrat-led activist group to label the incoming administration as anti-science. The revised policy says its “scientists, engineers, and contractors” can share their “scientific findings and views” with the press and public.

Staffers can also correct errors in DOE documents if they feel they aren’t accurate representations of their work.

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Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said it will “enshrine the independence of the scientific process for decades to come.”

Moniz believes the new policy will encourage DOE employees to speak with the press and publish their work, even if the information given to the press is inaccurate or used to embarrass the administration. As such, DOE personnel can give their own opinions without fear of reprisal that supervisors will coerce them into changing their “scientific or technological findings or conclusions.”

More politicization

The new policy was crafted with the activist group Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), whose deputy director, Michael Halpern, was a former Democratic politico who shills on behalf of his party’s agenda.

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Halpern said President-Elect Donald Trump’s pick to head the DOE—former Gov. Rick Perry—will likely get asked about this new policy at his confirmation hearing.

Halpern said Senators will have the chance to ask Perry how he plans to implement the new policy that was only introduced yesterday. When Perry was a presidential nominee, he said the DOE was one of three agencies he would get rid of if elected.

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Perry has a history of being at loggerheads with the bevy of Energy and EPA regulations introduced under Obama, which he believes are capricious and not backed by science.

Importance of being Ernest

Halpern told the Christian Science Monitor that under the Bush administration, “hundreds upon hundreds of scientists” faced political pressure to change results or not to speak freely.

There has been no evidence to suggest this so-called intimidation ever occurred and is a popular talking point among activist groups like the UCS. He also pointed out the questionnaire sent to the Energy Department, which the Trump team withdrew and blamed on a rogue employee.

Moniz announced the guidelines on Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. He told reporters about his own experience working with government labs when putting together the roundly decried Iranian nuclear deal. He said he needed clearly stated answers as opposed to answers others thought he wanted to hear.

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Smooth transition?

Halpern said the new policy prevents DOE department heads from infringing on scientific objectivity and will be closely watched by scientists. The goal is to make it more difficult for Trump to undo onerous regulations.

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Critics note the number of tripwires being set by President Obama’s appointees is unprecedented and the transition of power has been anything but smooth.

Interestingly, the loudest complaint heard from climate change skeptics is the lack of impartiality and data shared by various government agencies. Even the EPA, which based many of its rules on ‘secret science’, has refused to share its data with congress or the public, citing confidentiality concerns.

Trump’s nominees

Even though Trump’s most controversial nominees believe that global warming is occurring, they do not believe it is the most serious threat facing the country. Some have pointed out simulations produced by NASA and the IPCC have failed miserably in forecasting future temperature rises. Since the late 1800s, NOAA said Earth has warmed “0.15 degrees Fahrenheit per decade” or 1.5 degrees over the past 100 years (less than one degree Celsius).

The scientific integrity policy can be changed by the incoming Energy Department head, which is what some anti-Trumpers are counting on; the bad publicity will cost the new president precious capital.

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