12 February, 2005

Bush - 1, Science - 0

The Union of Concerned Scientists announced the results of a survey of 1400 US Fish and Wildlife Survey scientists recently. They had a 30% response rate, and that despite the fact that the agency apparently instructed its employees not to respond to the survey, even on personal time. They paint a pretty clear and obvious picture: intimidation, manipulation of results, and outright lying. Pretty par for the course for the Bush Administration: "if the truth doesn't fit, you must alter it."

Some of the more egregious points:
Nearly half of all respondents whose work is related to endangered species scientific findings (44 percent) reported that they "have been directed, for non-scientific reasons, to refrain from making jeopardy or other findings that are protective of species."

One in five agency scientists revealed they have been instructed to compromise their scientific integrity—reporting that they have been "directed to inappropriately exclude or alter technical information from a USFWS scientific document," such as a biological opinion

Almost a third (32 percent) felt they are not allowed to do their jobs as scientists

Lexi Shultz of the UCS feels this goes further than the FWS (reported in New Scientist):
"We've had reports in agencies across the federal government dealing with public health, environment and national security," she told New Scientist. "We think this is a very widespread problem. We don't think this is isolated to the FWS."

The UCS survey is available here.

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