Nelson: Science cannot be muzzled

Mar 26, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congress is facing a vote on whether politicians can discourage or restrict public discussion of climate change.

Legislation filed this week by a U.S. senator from Florida, one of the states most threatened by climate change and sea-level rise, could be voted on as early as this afternoon as part of the larger budget bill currently under consideration.

“Scientists simply must have the tools and the ability to tell us what they observe, without limitation on the terms that they can speak,” said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

"Let’s make clear that public science cannot be muzzled, that we won’t support censorship," Nelson added in a speech on the Senate floor today.

The Florida Democrat was spurred to file this bill by recent talk in the Senate of preventing NASA from studying the Earth and by two bills currently under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Those bills would limit the kinds of science the Environmental Protection Agency could use as a basis for its regulations and prevent climate scientists from serving on certain EPA committees.

Meanwhile in Florida, recent news reports said that Gov. Rick Scott has banned the use of the phrase “climate change” by employees in his administration.

If passed, Nelson’s bill would create a procedural hurdle to Senate consideration of any future legislation that censors a federal agency’s use of climate-change science.  It would also prevent federal agencies from limiting their employees’ speech related to climate change.

Here’s a link to the text of Nelson’s amendment:


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