Skip to comments.Union of Concerned Scientists Charges Bush With Politicizing Science
Posted on 04/19/2004 9:07:45 AM PDT by Roos_Girl
The Bush administration routinely suppresses, censors and distorts science on environmental and other issues, according to a major new report by a group of scientists.
The scientists make the claim in a 38-page report in which they urge citizens, Congress and other scientists to push to "reverse this dangerour trend" and "restore scientific integrity to federal policymaking."
"The report really coduments what we see as a disturbing and unprecedented pattern of misuse and misrepresentation of science by the Bush administration," said Kevin Knobloch, president of the 65,000-member Union of Concerned Scientists.
The report claims that federal scientsts are muzzled, advisory panels are stacked with people who push the Bush administration's political agenda, and scientific findings are manipulated or ignored. "The report documents many cases where the integrity of science was compromised," said Knobloch.
Across a broad range of issues - from childhood lead poisoning and mercury emissions to climate change - the administration is distorting and censoring scientific findings that contradict its policies, says the union.
White House officials dispute the claims. White House science adviser John Marburger said the report is disappointing because it makes sweeping generalizations about policy in this administration that are based on a random selection of incidents and issues.
But the scientists disagree. "The administration has disbanded scientific advisory committees, and fired scientists who are highly respected in their fields and replaced them with those hand-picked by the administration," said Knobloch.
The American public should be concerned because it places its trust in the government as an honest broker of scientific information.
"I think the American public has a right to expect that its leadership, whether it's the President of Congress, has unvarnished access to the best science," said Knobloch.
"What we are seeing is that this administration has been trying to change the conclusions of that science or suppress it so the decision-makers are not getting access to the best science."
One example is the issue of pollution from power plants, Knobloch said. The scientists conluded there was a delay in a report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on mercury pollution from some power plants. "Congress is trying to make the best decisions on power plant pollution and they were not given access to the most up-to-date scientific information," Knobloch said.
EPA itself came under fire for issuing a report assuring New Yorkers that the debris-laden air in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks was safe to breathe. It was not until August 2003 that the agency acknowledged that it had issued the report, at the White Houses's behest, before adequately monitoring air quality for contaminants such as PCBs, soot and dioxin.
The union has launched a campaign to stop the "misuse" of science before it damages the nation's health, safety and environment. "We are calling on Congress to fully investigate this matter," Knobloch said.
ROTFLMAO. There is no impartial science anymore...if there ever was. Sounds like the leftits are pissed because thier leftit buddies are getting kicked off the panel(s) and being replaced with neutral or rightist. whatever.
The Magazine of the Union of Concerned Scientists Vol. 21 No. 4 Winter 2000
Are nuclear power plants ready for the next century?
by David Lochbaum, Nuclear Safety Engineer
The Effect on Nuclear Plants
Operations and emergency systems at nuclear power plants use 1960s technology that is not controlled by computers. Thus the millenium bug cannot affect them. But the bug may disable supporting systems, such as plant monitoring or security, making it more difficult for workers to recognize or respond to any emergency that might arise from other causes.
What Can Be Done
Throughout 1999, UCS has been warning the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Congress, and the public about the potential dangers and the simple measures that would decrease risks. Because malfunctioning security computers could lock doors normally accessed by card readers, we've suggested that plant workers carry the ordinary keys that can also open the doors. Since operators are unaccustomed to using the backup systems that record data from sensors throughout the plant, we've recommended additional training to bring staff up to speed in using the backups to evaluate plant conditions.
We've also warned against a false sense of security. In July, the NRC announced that emergency systems at all of the 103 nuclear power plants currently in operation in the United States were Y2K ready. We pointed out that the NRC was basing that claim on responses to an audit plan that does not define what constitutes Y2K readiness. It's like asking, "Does the Titanic carry lifeboats?" instead of "Does the Titanic have enough lifeboats to carry all its passengers and crew?"
We are not alone in our criticism. In October, the US Government Accounting Office testified before Congress that the NRC has done a poor job of independently verifying plants' Y2K readiness.
In October, the GAO and the Department of Energy asked UCS what could be done at this late date. We suggested running tests at plants that are shut down for refueling before January 1: simply roll the computers' clocks forward into the new year and see what happens. Since 26 plants are slated for refueling during this period, the results would provide some indication about which plants might have problems. Workers at plants with computer systems similar to those that fail could take precautions and make tests of their own. Whether this advice will be followed we don't know.
If you live near a nuclear power plant, you might want to ask plant personnel about the plant's Y2K readiness. The UCS website (www.ucsusa.org) provides a list of questions.
I agree with you, A-G...but it has always been so. Sadly, not all of us are morally highminded, and scientists are just as prone as any other human to various agendas and the most basic of human failings: Greed.
I agree with your analysis of the underlying cause and that it has always been this way.
IMHO science is at a crossroad because certain subjects it is now tackling will tilt one way or the other depending on which side has the "upper hand" in influence and money.
The subjects include artificial intelligence (consciousness, qualia, epiphenomenons of the physical brain) - information theory (functional complexity, self organizing complexity, abiogenesis) - strong determinism (geometric physics, dualities, string theory, supersymmetry, cosmologies).
IMHO, it could go either way because of political ideology and correctness.