December 06, 2019

Congressman Joe Neguse Introduces Legislation to Address Climate Censorship at Federal Agencies

Washington D.C.—Today, Congressman Joe Neguse, who represents Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District in Colorado and serves as a member of U.S. House Leadership, introduced legislation to address climate censorship at federal agencies. Specifically, the Stop Climate Censorship Act, from Congressman Neguse and co-led by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon and Congressman Sean Casten of Illinois, requires any political appointee at a federal agency seeking to remove content regarding climate change in a scientific study or press release to publicly provide the underlying scientific reason for doing so. 

In light of recent attempts by this Administration to censor science, including threats in September to fire NOAA officials who failed to back President Trump’s inaccurate statements on Hurricane Dorian, legislation to prevent the political interference of federal science is critically needed. 

“In Colorado, the impacts of climate change are felt every day. Rising temperatures have led to accelerated snow melt and increased flooding and erosion, which negatively affect Colorado’s freshwater sources and national parks,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “We need to be able to understand the full effects of climate change so we can prepare for them and fight this existential threat. It is absolutely critical, therefore, that researchers at our institutions and our federal labs are free to do their work without the threat of political censorship. The Stop Climate Censorship Act will take important steps towards addressing the issue of climate censorship for our scientists here in Colorado and across the country.”

“Irrespective of anyone's political party affiliation, this is important legislation for those seeking improved accountability among political appointees and ongoing access to important information about climate change for decision-making,” said Max Boykoff, Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research and Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder.

“We can’t make good decisions if we’re not working from the best available information—and federal scientists can’t give us their best work if they’re afraid their findings will make them a political target,” said Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Since climate change is affecting nearly every facet of our lives, we have to be able to incorporate accurate, up-to-date information about climate change into our policy decisions. Federal agencies must listen to the science and be honest with the public, and that means allowing scientists who research climate change to do their work free of censorship or political interference.” 

“By acknowledging the scale of the climate crisis, we can implement bold policies to address it,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “To be successful, those policies must be informed by the best available science. At a time when the Trump Administration regularly dismisses and denies climate science, it is our responsibility to protect the work of federal science agencies and to make sure that scientists are heard and supported rather than censored. I’m pleased to work with Congressman Neguse on the Stop Climate Censorship Act to deter the suppression, censorship, and manipulation of climate science. The future of our planet and the health of our communities depend on our access to evidence-based science and the actions we take today.”

“The climate crisis is the single greatest existential threat to mankind, yet this Administration has repeatedly barred government scientists, who are simply trying to do their job, from talking about or presenting the public with crucial facts about the threats posed by climate change. We simply cannot adequately prepare for the impacts of the climate crisis if the federal government and the public do not have the best available science to guide our decisions,” said Congressman Sean Casten. “I am proud to join my colleagues, Congressman Neguse and Congresswoman Bonamici, in introducing the Stop Climate Censorship Act which will help prevent political censorship of climate scientists across the federal government.”

Colorado is home to over 30 federally-funded research labs and joint institutes across the state, making it one of the highest concentrations of federally funded science and research centers in the nation, many of which focus on earth and climate science. Federally funded research facilities in Colorado contributed an estimated $2.6 billion to the state’s economy in 2016 and supported more than 17,600 jobs, according to a report from the University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School of Business.