This isn’t really news to anyone who’s been paying attention to the Bush administration over the past almost eight years:
WASHINGTON (April 23, 2008) — An investigation of the Environmental Protection Agency released today found that 889 of nearly 1,600 staff scientists reported that they experienced political interference in their work over the last five years. The study, by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), follows previous UCS investigations of the Food and Drug Administration, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and climate scientists at seven federal agencies, which also found significant administration manipulation of federal science.
“Our investigation found an agency in crisis,” said Francesca Grifo, director of UCS’s Scientific Integrity Program. “Nearly 900 EPA scientists reported political interference in their scientific work. That’s 900 too many. Distorting science to accommodate a narrow political agenda threatens our environment, our health, and our democracy itself.”
[…] Today’s UCS investigation included dozens of interviews with current and former EPA staff members, analysis of government documents, and a questionnaire sent to 5,419 EPA scientists by Iowa State University’s Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology. The questionnaire generated responses from 1,586 scientists, but not all of the respondents answered every question. (For the report, “Interference at EPA: Science and Politics at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” go to www.ucsusa.org/EPAscience.)
Among the UCS report’s top findings:
– 889 scientists (60 percent) said they had personally experienced at least one instance of political interference in their work over the last five years.
– 394 scientists (31 percent) personally experienced frequent or occasional “statements by EPA officials that misrepresent scientists’ findings.”
– 285 scientists (22 percent) said they frequently or occasionally personally experienced “selective or incomplete use of data to justify a specific regulatory outcome.”
– 224 scientists (17 percent) said they had been “directed to inappropriately exclude or alter technical information from an EPA scientific document.”
– Of the 969 agency veterans with more than 10 years of EPA experience, 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.
– Hundreds of scientists reported being unable to openly express concerns about the EPA’s work without fear of retaliation; 492 (31 percent) felt they could not speak candidly within the agency and 382 (24 percent) felt they could not do so outside the agency.
UCS’s investigation revealed political interference is most pronounced in offices where scientists write regulations and at the National Center for Environmental Assessment, where scientists conduct risk assessments that could lead to strengthened regulations.
“The investigation shows researchers are generally continuing to do their work,” said Dr. Grifo. “But their scientific findings are tossed aside when it comes time to write regulations.”
Like I said, big fucking surprise to no one who is actually paying attention. This administration has placed politics over science since day one. January 2009 can’t come soon enough.