The Wildlife Conservation Department, an email newsgroup that I subscribe to, brought this Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) news release to my attention and, a couple of days later, The Mantis emailed me a related piece, excerpted below, from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
"Joining a growing number of scientists deeply troubled by the Bush administration’s distortion of science for political ends, scientists at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service report that agency science is suffering under political manipulation and inappropriate influence of special interests. According to the survey released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), the agency is increasingly unable to carry out its charge of protecting imperiled fish, seal and whale populations from extinction."No matter how judicious a reporter's account of such "distortion," our guts remain a fair judge. When I first read the PEER and USC reports, I felt helpless and angry. Science builds upon successes and mistakes alike; hypotheses are only as good as the experiments designed to test them, and the data produced in these experiments is only as good as the methodology and technology applied. As a result, findings are often wrong or inaccurate, but rarely intentionally so. To ignore or alter findings is not only corrupt, it is also dumb; manipulation of scientific findings benefits no one and harms many.
Regrettably, once politics is married to money, the impetus to cook the books is great. There's no doubt that the Bush administration has done more selective editing or outright ignoring of scientific research than any other administration in memory. I can only hope that George W. Bush and his cronies will be held accountable one day, whenever that may be. (It can't be soon enough.)