States lack the necessary safeguards to shield scientists and their work from politicization, and to hold wrongdoers accountable. A 2020 study from the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund found that only two state agencies in the entire country — the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources — have publicly available policies to protect science in the policymaking process, often referred to as “scientific integrity policies.” Only 22 states have statutes that require state agencies to use the best available science in their work. According to analyses by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, 12 states’ whistleblower laws do not protect state employees who disclose dangers to health, public safety, or the environment, while a staggering 41 states do not protect state employees who disclose violations of ethics rules. Oklahoma and Idaho have repealed their ethics laws entirely.
View the full article from Union of Concerned Scientists