Interference at the EPA

Wow. Union of Concerned Scientists released their report about political interference at the EPA last week.

Excepts from their summary page (emphasis mine):

  • “889 scientists (60 percent of respondents) personally experienced at least one type of political interference during the past five years.
  • Among agency veterans (more than 10 years of experience at the EPA), 409 scientists (43 percent) said interference has occurred more often in the past five years than in the previous five-year period. Only 43 scientists (4 percent) said interference occurred less often.
  • 285 scientists (22 percent) personally experienced frequent or occasional “selective or incomplete use of data to justify a specific regulatory outcome.”
  • 507 scientists (42 percent) knew of “many or some” cases in wich “commercial interests have inappropriately induced the reversal or withdrawal of EPA scientific conclusions or decisions through political intervention.”
  • 516 scientists (43 percent) knew of “many or some” cases in which EPA political appointees were inappropriately involved in scientific decisions.
  • 560 scientists (49 percent) knew of “many or some” cases in which political appointees at other federal agencies were inappropriately involved in scientific decisions.
  • 719 scientists (47 percent) felt that the agency’s determinations occasionally, seldom, or never make use of its scientific staff’s best judgment.”

Perhaps most disheartening, 51% said they didn’t feel free to speak to the media about their findings.

Check out the whole report.

3 thoughts on “Interference at the EPA

  1. 9 more months. 9 more months. I think about that, and hope they can’t do too much more damage in 9 more months. But then I think how much damage done already and how long it will take to try to reverse it — if it can be reversed.

  2. @AgedCat: I see where you’re coming from, but looking at you guys from Britain, the election isn’t going to make much difference. What might help is if these concerned scientists got themselves organized and started naming and shaming.

  3. That’s easy to say Martin, but a lot harder to do when your job is at stake. The Bush Administration has had no problem firing scientists that don’t toe the party line.

    Walking away from a career you’ve built over many years is really a huge decision.

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