Biden administration revokes Trump Interior secretarial ‘open science’ order |

Biden administration revokes Trump Interior secretarial ‘open science’ order


The Biden administration on Wednesday revoked the Trump administration’s 2018 Interior Department science order that it said had been “falsely branded the ‘open science’ rule” and “imposed improper restrictions on what science and data could be considered in the department’s policymaking.”

The administration took the action through a new secretarial order that revoked the Trump order.

“Science is at the heart of Interior’s mission – from protecting endangered species to conducting environmental assessments for energy projects,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Water and Science Tanya Trujillo. “Today’s order puts the evaluation and decision-making authority regarding scientific information back where it should be: in the hands of the scientists. It’s an important step toward restoring trust in government and strengthening scientific integrity at the Interior Department.”

Wednesday’s order initiates a review of all agency activities taken pursuant to Secretarial Order 3369 and provides direction to the department to comply with President Biden’s memorandum to advance scientific integrity.

“The 2018 secretarial order was issued without due consideration and review by the department’s career scientists and officials, or by the broader scientific community,” Interior said in a news release. “Among the serious concerns with the order’s directives, it hindered the department’s ability to enter into contracts for cutting-edge research, and precluded the department from utilizing sensitive information – e.g., regarding sacred sites or rare and threatened species – to inform complex policy decisions.

“Acting Secretary [Scott] de la Vega’s order directs that scientific merit, not political interference, will guide agency decision-making; prevents the suppression or distortion of scientific or technological findings, data, information, conclusions, or technical results; and supports scientists and researchers of all genders, races, ethnicities, and backgrounds.

“Interior leadership has begun a review of the scientific integrity programs within the department and is re-invigorating Interior’s Science Advisors’ Council.”

–The Hagstrom Report

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