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Letter: Don't let Trump's team undermine science

You don't need a politician to tell you whether to believe in global warming. Go to climate.gov, look at the Global Climate Dashboard and decide for yourself.

You don't need a politician to tell you whether to believe in global warming. Go to climate.gov, look at the Global Climate Dashboard and decide for yourself.

But do it soon. The Trump administration reportedly has proposed deep cuts for government agencies that conduct climate and environmental research, such as NOAA, the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA.

Our president wants the government to get out of the way of the oil industry, and that means he can't tolerate theories that say rapid burning of the earth's fossil fuel reserve might have significant, possibly disastrous environmental consequences. So no more science, no more regulation.

Science is a body of knowledge accumulated over thousands of years by intelligent and dedicated people from all cultures on earth. Science stimulates technological development, and science is required to identify the side effects of technology.

Over the past half-century of rapid technological advances, there are many examples of products and practices that were found to cause serious hazards to our health or damage to our natural environment: lead, mercury, asbestos, chlorofluorocarbons, PCBs, thalidomide, DDT, strontium-90 and so on.

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We don't expect industry, whose primary mission is profit-making, to invest large sums in research to protect public health and safety, so this responsibility falls to our government. Unfortunately, backlash against government regulation of industry has engendered a coalition of corporate leaders and politicians whose ideology effectively places corporate profit-taking above public health and safety.

For better or worse, our nation depends on science and technology. Our prosperity and survival depend on it. We are at serious risk when our leaders undermine or suppress scientific research. That might work on talk radio, but it's not going to work in the White House.

Tom O'Neil

East Grand Forks

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