In a new report on employment trends across federal science agencies, Democratic staff of the House Science Committee conclude some agencies have experienced significant “brain drain” over the past decade while others have expanded despite facing political pressures.

A Trump administration rule requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to give less weight to certain scientific studies was voided last week after Biden’s EPA declined to defend it in court.

The Environmental Protection Agency continues to press toward finalizing its controversial scientific transparency rule, despite concerns from its Science Advisory Board and admonitions from Congress to delay rulemaking activities during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Members of the House Science Committee pressed EPA for details last week on how its proposed science transparency rule will affect regulations already in place after a New York Times report suggested the rule could apply retroactively.

Policy changes altering the membership of the Environmental Protection Agency’s science advisory committees were rolled into a broader dispute at a recent hearing over the Trump administration’s use of experts in federal decision-making.

Congressional Democrats seeking to codify federal agencies' scientific integrity policies argued at a hearing that such steps would be necessary under any administration, while highlighting "abuses" in the Trump era.

With EPA planning to finalize a controversial science transparency rule this year, the agency’s Science Advisory Board has decided to undertake an expedited review of the measure. The proposed rule would restrict the agency from basing new regulations on scientific studies whose underlying data are not publicly available.

The Trump administration has released the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which details current and potential climate change impacts on the U.S. While the report considers a range of scenarios, the administration has asserted it relies on an “extreme” scenario based on overly pessimistic assumptions.

The Interior Department has joined the Environmental Protection Agency in advancing policies to require its regulatory decisions be based on scientific studies for which the underlying data is publicly available.

While the full implications of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s July 6 resignation remain uncertain, Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler has indicated he plans to take a less confrontational approach than his predecessor, emphasizing he will consult EPA career employees and scientists before making major decisions.