Wetlands Pollute! Rivers Need Barges!

There is a very interesting article about the Bush administration’s interference with science in the Christian Science Monitor. I was a little distracted while reading it, because I kept thinking I had posted an article on the same subject fairly recently, but not so recently that I could remember when, or what it was called, or where it was from. But luck was with me (or perhaps it was my guardian angel, or baby Jesus, or both, one on each shoulder), and I found it anyway. It’s here. It’s well worth reading both: they are related but quite different. The Monitor article treats science in general; the Grist one discusses cases where the Bush administration forced federal agencies to adopt policies developers and other industries wanted in place of scientifically-based findings, with nasty results for the Missouri river and Florida’s wetlands.

From the Monitor article:

Nevertheless, several science-policy experts argue that no presidency has been more calculating and ideological than the Bush administration in setting political parameters for science. President Bush’s blunt rejection of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, and his decision restricting stem-cell research are only the most obvious and widely publicized examples of what has become a broader pattern across the administration.

From the Grist article:

As we’ve seen before, this administration’s M.O. is simple: If you don’t like the science, change the scientist. That same motto could have been scrawled atop a resignation notice submitted in late October by Bruce Boler, a former U.S. EPA scientist in Florida who quit in protest when the agency accepted a study concluding that wetlands can produce more pollution than they filter. “It’s a blatant reversal of traditional scientific findings that wetlands naturally purify water,’ Boler told Muckraker. ‘Wetlands are often referred to as nature’s kidneys. Most self-respecting scientists will tell you that, and yet [private] developers and officials [at the Corps] wanted me to support their position that wetlands are, literally, a pollution source.’

Scientists who don’t obey are fired and replaced with more biddable ones, and the EPA muzzles its own employees. Pretty story.

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