In the Washington Watch column in the November 2009 issue of the journal BioScience, Megan Kelhart explores recent practices at the Environmental Protection Agency that have silenced scientists and devastated morale. To read the full article for free, please go to

The following is a short excerpt from the article.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created on 2 December 1970 to "establish and enforce environmental protection standards, conduct environmental research, provide support to others combating environmental pollution, and assist the White House Council on Environmental Quality in developing and recommending to the President new policies for environmental protection." In its early years, the EPA made sweeping changes to improve the environment and health of the United States and its citizens. In the 1970s, the EPA, among numerous other accomplishments, banned the use of DDT, set the first national standards limiting industrial water pollution, and banned the use of chlorofluoro-carbons in most aerosol cans.

Yet 38 years after the inception of the agency, its funding and morale have under-gone severe declines, and its administrator has been accused of allowing partisan politics to overshadow science. Some interested observers go so far as to say that instead of the EPA advising the president, the White House is advising the EPA.

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