By<br />Rick edenkrans<br />Lai 531 spring 2010<br />Resuscitating the Office of Technology Assessment<br />
Foreword<br />2<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />
What is the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA)?<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />3<br />An office of the...
What is the OTA? Cont.<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />4<br />Similar to: <br /><ul><li>The Congressional ...
The General Accounting Office (GAO)
The Congressional Research Service (CRS)</li></li></ul><li>“Defunding” the OTA<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<...
OTA Achievements<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />6<br />Produced about 750 studies on various subjects:<br...
Global security
Medicine
Environment</li></li></ul><li>“The Honest Broker”<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />7<br />Dr. Roger A. Piel...
Distrust of Science<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />8<br /><ul><li>Republicans—Generally distrust science ...
Democrats—Generally distrust science by industry</li></ul>(Unless it supports their position!)<br />
Benefits of OTA<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />9<br />Would process and report on science produced by ind...
Controlling and Censoring Science<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />10<br />Chris Mooney: The Republican War...
Neutering Regulatory Agencies<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />11<br />The Environmental Protection Agency ...
Shelby Amendment<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />12<br />Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL)<br />Inserted in 92...
The Data Quality Act (DQA)<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />13<br />Representative Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO)<br...
The DQA cont.<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />14<br />Authorizes Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to ...
Doubt Is Their Product<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />15<br />Author David Michaels<br />Deceptive method...
Uncertainty
Time
Code words: “Sound science”=Industry science “Junk science”=Government and university science</li></li></ul><li>Saintly De...
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Resuscitating the office of technology assessment

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  • Thank you for an excellent history of what happened to the OTA. We really need the OTA more today than ever. I read 'Doubt is their product' and learned a lot from that book. Most people think PR firms are just creating cool commercials when in fact they are often sacrificing people in order to bring more money to corporations. I'm going to go sign the UCS letter...
    Luckily, all of the OTA documents are archived at the Princeton website. They are often still valid.
    Great job, Mr. Edenkrans!
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Resuscitating the office of technology assessment

  1. 1. By<br />Rick edenkrans<br />Lai 531 spring 2010<br />Resuscitating the Office of Technology Assessment<br />
  2. 2. Foreword<br />2<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />
  3. 3. What is the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA)?<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />3<br />An office of the Congress<br />Created in 1972<br />To provide: “Unbiased information concerning the physical, biological, economic, social, and political effects” of technological applications<br />
  4. 4. What is the OTA? Cont.<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />4<br />Similar to: <br /><ul><li>The Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
  5. 5. The General Accounting Office (GAO)
  6. 6. The Congressional Research Service (CRS)</li></li></ul><li>“Defunding” the OTA<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />1995-Republicans cut the OTA from the budget<br />143 Full-time staff, many Ph. D’s<br />Savings: $21.9 million<br />Six members from each party<br />5<br />Victim of changing times….<br />
  7. 7. OTA Achievements<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />6<br />Produced about 750 studies on various subjects:<br /><ul><li>Substance abuse
  8. 8. Global security
  9. 9. Medicine
  10. 10. Environment</li></li></ul><li>“The Honest Broker”<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />7<br />Dr. Roger A. Pielke Jr.; “…we desperately need organizations and individuals who are willing to expand the range of options available to policymakers by serving as Honest Brokers of Policy Alternatives…This was once the approach of the US Government’s Office of Technology Assessment”<br />
  11. 11. Distrust of Science<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />8<br /><ul><li>Republicans—Generally distrust science by government, universities
  12. 12. Democrats—Generally distrust science by industry</li></ul>(Unless it supports their position!)<br />
  13. 13. Benefits of OTA<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />9<br />Would process and report on science produced by industry, government, and universities<br />Provide policymakers with unbiased and non-partisan options<br />Assist policymakers by eliminating inaccurate science reporting<br />
  14. 14. Controlling and Censoring Science<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />10<br />Chris Mooney: The Republican War on Science<br />Mark Bowen: Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming<br />Making the President and his policies “look bad”<br />
  15. 15. Neutering Regulatory Agencies<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />11<br />The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)<br />The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)<br />Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)<br />United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)<br />
  16. 16. Shelby Amendment<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />12<br />Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL)<br />Inserted in 920-page appropriations bill for FY 1999<br />Federal agencies must make their data available<br />Restricting research data sharing requirements of corporations<br />
  17. 17. The Data Quality Act (DQA)<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />13<br />Representative Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO)<br />Rider in 712-page Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act FY 2000 <br />By request from Jim Tozzi—Reagan Administration and Big Tobacco consultant<br />Mr. Tozzi—of CRE, a for-profit policy shop in the product defense industry <br />
  18. 18. The DQA cont.<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />14<br />Authorizes Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to develop guidelines for “ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility and integrity of information”.<br />Goes on to say, “…affected persons are granted the right to challenge and request correction of information disseminated by a federal agency that is not in compliance with those guidelines”.<br />Gives industry influence over regulatory process and slows regulation of unsafe practices<br />
  19. 19. Doubt Is Their Product<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />15<br />Author David Michaels<br />Deceptive methods <br />Creating, using or buying:<br /><ul><li>Doubt
  20. 20. Uncertainty
  21. 21. Time
  22. 22. Code words: “Sound science”=Industry science “Junk science”=Government and university science</li></li></ul><li>Saintly Democrats? <br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />16<br />Not quite<br />Democrats follow the money too<br />Do not actively oppose science findings<br />Do not actively intimidate government agencies<br />Do not actively censor the work of scientists<br />
  23. 23. The Product Defense Industry<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />17<br />PR firms with mercenary scientists<br />Reanalyze data to skew findings<br />Through their corporate clients they:<br /><ul><li>Fund think tanks favorable to their cause
  24. 24. Conduct media PR campaigns
  25. 25. Fund industry lobby groups
  26. 26. Organize fake “grassroots” campaigns </li></li></ul><li>Funding the OTA <br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />18<br />Annual budget—probably less than $50 million (or a day and half of funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) <br />Should come from General Budget, cut elsewhere if needed<br />
  27. 27. Conclusion<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />19<br />Science has to be non-partisan and free from bias and coercion<br />Individuals, corporations and policymakers have to have at least one reliable source of science information<br />The government has to fund an agency that do these things<br />The OTA is a good candidate<br />
  28. 28. Got OTA?<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />20<br />Visit website of Union of Concerned Scientists<br />Demand the reinstatement of the OTA by writing your:<br /><ul><li>Representative
  29. 29. Senators
  30. 30. President</li></li></ul><li>References<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />21<br /><ul><li>Kohut, A. Pew Research Center. Scientific Achievements Less Prominent Than a Decade Ago. 1615 L Street, N. W., Suite 700, Washington, D. C. 20036. 2009
  31. 31. Bimber, B. The Politics of Expertise in Congress: The Rise and Fall of the Office of Technology Assessment. State University of New York Press. ISBN-13: 978-0791430590. 1996
  32. 32. Pielke Jr., Roger A. The Honest Broker. Cambridge University Press, The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK. ISBN 978-0-521-69481-0. 2009
  33. 33. Bowen, M. Censoring Science: Inside the political attack on Dr. .James Hansen and the truth of global warming. The Penguin Group. 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014. ISBN 978-0-452-28962-8. 2008
  34. 34. Mooney, C. The Republican War On Science. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0465046751. 2005</li></ul>http://www.princeton.edu/~ota/disk1/1996/9603/9603.PDF Retrieved 04/10/2010<br />http://www.princeton.edu/~ota/ns20/topic_f.html Retrieved 04/10/2010<br />
  35. 35. References cont.<br />Edenkrans-Resuscitate the OTA-LAI 531<br />22<br />http://www.princeton.edu/~ota/disk1/1996/9603/9603.PDF Retrieved 04/10/2010<br />The Union of Concerned Scientists website: http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/solutions/big_picture_solutions/restoring-the-ota.html<br />
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