White House official orders no 'political interference' in 'scientific processes'

John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, issued a memorandum Friday to the heads of all federal departments and agencies calling for “a clear prohibition on political interference in scientific processes and expanded assurances of transparency.”

The memorandum comes as the science upon which key administration decisions are made on issues like climate change is being challenged by many Republicans in Congress. As the next Congress approaches, key members of the new House Republican majority have said they plan to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

For example, Rep. Ed WhitfieldEd WhitfieldWhy Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog What Azerbaijan wants from Israel? Overnight Energy: Green group sues Exxon over climate science MORE (R-Ky.), the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee, said Thursday he will work to delay implementation of the EPA’s effort to reduce interstate power-plant air emissions and block the agency’s attempts to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions.

Holdren’s memorandum follows up on a March 2009 memorandum issued by President Obama that called on agencies to base their decision making on sound science.