Finito la Commedia


More shame for the Bush Administration

Assistant Interior Secretary Caught Rewriting Endangered Species Science

On Monday, the Washington Post reported that high-ranking political appointees within the Department of the Interior have to prevent the protection of several highly imperiled species under the Endangered Species Act. Click here to read the Washington Post story.

This latest example of the abuse of science centers on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Julie MacDonald, a civil engineer with no biological training, personally changed scientific conclusions and ordered the agency to refrain from protecting several species under the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act requires the FWS to use the best available science when making decisions regarding what species should be protected under the Act. 

The documents showing MacDonald’s edits and edicts were obtained by several conservation organizations through the Freedom of Information Act. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) brought the documents to the Washington Post in the context of the greater issue of political interference in science. Click here for a summary of the issue and to view the documents.

Through this effort, we have already achieved a notable success: Representative Nick Rahall (D-WV) has indicated that he will hold oversight hearings regarding this matter should his party take control of Congress after next week’s elections. But we’re aiming even higher: we’re asking new Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to take concrete steps to restore scientific integrity to the agency.

Sincerely,

Dr. Francesca Grifo
Senior Scientist and Director
UCS Scientific Integrity Program

P.S. The article has also appeared in the following newspapers. You can also consider submitting your letter to one of these publications:

Contra Costa Times
Denver Post
Houston Chronicle
Myrtle Beach Sun News
Rocky Mountain News
Salt Lake Tribune
Seattle Times

If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for Scientific Integrity Network

The Union of Concerned Scientists relies on individuals like you to support our research and advocacy.
Join us to promote practical, science-based environmental and security solutions.

We are committed to protecting your privacy, your email address will NEVER be sold or exchanged.

[Note from Finito la Commedia: I removed a section of the above message. The message contained a plea to write a letter in response to the above-referenced article to the Washington Post or one of the other newspapers listed. Since the requested letter was to be sent by November 3, 2006, I removed that plea from this view of the UCS’s e-mail.]

If government secrecy wasn’t enough for you, how about government lying?

This appears to be but one example of the Bush Administration’s refusal to believe scientific proof that their positions cause real damage. Indeed, it is an example of how the Bush Administration does not appear to believe in science at all.

Personally, I believe that certain Evangelical Christians have chosen to believe that science is just another belief system that can be disregarded. Unfortunately, in this case, for all of us, science is not the same as religion.

I speak as someone with at least the basic training in science that used to be required by public and private schools. The basic understanding of the scientific method that used to be considered necessary for all educated people.

I also speak as a religious person. Religion is not the same as science, and religious truth is not interchangeable with scientific fact – nor should it be.

In my life, I use scientific fact to further illuminate my understanding of the divine. I don’t use religion to spread false information or to promote irrational public policy.

Shame on those who do.

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1 Comment so far
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Totally agree. Furthermore, conversations with the religious people who reject or accept scientific evidence depending on how it fits into their religious beliefs are short because shouting seems to be their entire argument.

Comment by Susan Reynolds




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