OPTION 2 - Legislative attempts to undermine science

Background

There are several dangerous bills moving through Congress that seek to dismantle the current science-based system of creating public health, environmental, and safety protections. Members of Congress will decide the fate of these bills that would effectively end the development and enforcement of science-based policies. Leverage your expertise and your voice as a constituent to send a clear pro-science message, which is critical in these battles to preserve the role of science in our democracy.

Bills that would be excellent choices to focus on include:

  • S. 21/H.R. 26, REINS Act - Politicizes the regulatory process by requiring science-based public health, safety, and environmental safeguards to be approved by both houses of Congress in a narrow timeline.

  • H.R. 1430, HONEST Act - Hinders the ability of the EPA to use the best available science when finalizing science-based public health and environmental protections.

  • S.951, Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) - Cuts down agencies’ ability to use science to shape and uphold public protections by creating endless delays and barriers. Forces agencies to ignore science by requiring them to finalize rules that are least costly to industry. UCS has a set of informational resources and sample op-eds and LTEs on this topic; email us if this is your chosen topic.

  • Threats to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) - This moment is high-risk for attacks on the ESA, which could be pushed through in a flurry of bills or as riders on must-pass FY18 budget bills. This is despite the fact that the ESA is one of the most effective science-based laws, using science to help protect our nation’s biodiversity. Nearly 99% of species that have been protected by the ESA are still in existence today, including some of our nation’s most iconic species, from bald eagles to grizzly bears. UCS has a great set of resources on this topic; email us if this is your chosen topic.

Task: 500WS pods will work together to publish Op-eds or LTEs in local newspapers highlighting the potential negative impacts of these bills in relation to local communities, economies, and environments.

Audience: Elected officials and their staff who are checking local papers, community members who may not be aware of these anti-science bills or potential impacts on their communities.

Approach: Themes likely to resonate include:

  • Replacing science-based policies with decisions based on political influence or corporate profits would have real effects on our state’s families, who could be exposed to harmful pollutants, products, and workplaces [give personal or local examples].

  • [Share local examples of the costs of allowing corporations and narrow interests to disrupt public safeguards, especially if related to your scientific expertise]

  • The role of scientific knowledge in informing and implementing public protections has been pivotal in improving the health and well-being of Americans, especially the most vulnerable.

Here is an great Op-ed example from Montana opposing the RAA