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Keep politics out of science -- stop the passage of H.R.1806

This petition had 32,568 supporters


The majority in Congress is putting politics ahead of scientific advancement, and the result could jeopardize America’s leadership in the global scientific community.

If Congress has its way, a new bill (HR 1806) will allow them to strip the National Science Foundation (NSF) of its control over its 7.3-billion dollar budget, and take over decision-making power on what type of research grants and fellowships get priority funding. Funding requests by graduate students and scientists will not be reviewed by panels of preeminent scholars, as they have been for more than a half-century, and funding will no longer be based on scientific merit. Instead, “merit” will be based solely on Congress’ idea of “national interest.”

And here’s where the worst of the problem lies -- for many in Congress, pressing areas of study like climate change and stem cell research don’t meet their “national interest” criteria, putting progress in some of our most important areas of science at risk. Political ideology should not stand in the way of true scientific advancement. HR 1806 has already passed the House. I am calling on the Senate to reject it.

This is not just theoretical. Real lives will be affected if Congress gets the power to cherry-pick which sciences it will fund. Mine is one of them. As an arborist, I’m forced to use pesticides to keep trees alive, as no other effective insect-control product exists. But I also know of the many environmental and health problems these pesticides cause, and am very aware of the danger I’m putting myself, and my family, into on a daily basis as I come into such close contact with these toxic chemicals.

I am impatiently awaiting a day when scientists will discover a biological, rather than chemical, method to curb insect populations in our agriculture. But this bill is a major step backwards for that dream -- biological methods would cut into the profits of companies like Monsanto, which has an interest in maintaining the status quo, and millions of dollars to spend in lobbying. Congressmen and women who support big business have already sided with companies like Exxon and Shell in their efforts to shun climate change science. And the Monsanto lobby has already won several victories in Congress, and will very likely have their ear when it comes to shaping NSF policy.

It is imperative that science not be politicized.

Enough is enough. Congress need to get out of the way of scientific advancement and encourage America’s best and brightest to continue to search, discover and create for our nation, and the global community as a whole. Tell the Senate to dump HR 1086. Sign my petition.



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