Monday, January 30, 2017

Will Trump Be Bad for Science? His Cabinet Appointments Suggest Not

As President Trump settles into office and begins filling cabinet positions, we're starting to get a sense of how the new administration will influence science policy in America.

American Council on Science and Health president Hank Campbell has some interesting thoughts on Trump's cabinet picks as they relate to science:

When it comes to science and health, someone has clearly thought about these nominees, and they are also in line with the stated goals that got the President elected. These selections are certainly not anti-science, unless you are framing science through political or social goals.
A few quick thoughts:

Campbell rightly criticizes the EPA for the propagandizing they've engaged in over the last eight years, but acknowledges that they've also done some good research, especially on fracking in my opinion. Since Trump has been vocal about the importance of increased energy production and ordered the EPA to tone down their environmentalist preaching on twitter, I anticipate the agency will improve under the new president.

The Department of Energy will no longer preach the blessings of alternative energy, nor will they force all of us to pay for it, under the direction of former Texas governor Rick Perry. Greenpeace is breaking out in hives. Snort.

Francis Collins is staying on as director of the National Institutes of Health. He's a great science communicator and a great researcher besides. He's also been a voice of reason in the religion vs. science debate, mainly because he's convincingly argued that the two aren't mutually exclusive.

It's still early. But so far, so good. Trump could have done a lot worse with these cabinet picks.

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