Over 60 nationally known scientists – including several Nobel laureates – released a statement this week through the Union of Concerned Scientists charging that the Bush White House has censored important scientific data in the pursuit of right-wing policy goals.
“Across a broad range of issues, the administration has undermined the quality of the scientific advisory system and the morale of the government’s outstanding scientific personnel,” said Dr. Kurt Gottfried, emeritus professor of physics at Cornell University and Chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Whether the issue is lead paint, clean air or climate change, this behavior has serious consequences for all Americans.”
“Science, to quote President Bush's father, the former president, relies on freedom of inquiry and objectivity,” said Russell Train, head of the Environmental Protection Agency under Nixon and Ford, who joined the scientists in calling for action. “But this administration has obstructed that freedom and distorted that objectivity in ways that were unheard of in any previous administration.”
The Union of Concerned Scientists released a report called Scientific Integrity in Policymaking that documents examples of censorship and distortion that the White House has been involved with.
One example cited in the statement and report involves the suppression of an EPA study that found the bipartisan Senate Clear Air bill would do more to reduce mercury contamination in fish and prevent more deaths than the administration's proposed Clear Skies Act. “This is akin to the White House directing the National Weather Service to alter a hurricane forecast because they want everyone to think we have clear skies ahead,” said Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists “The hurricane is still coming, but without factual information no one will be ready for it.”