This is from the Audibon magazine, May-June 2005
The Big Chill
Last February, 62 distinguished scientists, 20 Nobel laureates among them, charged the Bush administration with "manipulation of the process through wich science enters into its decisions." To discover the extent of the abuse, the Union of Concerned Scientists teamed up with Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility to survey 1,600 scientists in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Nearly 30 percent responded, despite agency directives not to. They spoke of a "climate of fear" at the USFWS--fear of the loss of jobs or of program funding. At a subsequent Congressional hearing, Representative Norman Dicks (D-WA) excoriated departed USFWS director Steve WIlliams: "You are letting political appointees beat up on biologists, so they are intimidated and can't dod their job for habitat and species." Nine of 10 managers cited cases where political appointees and members of Congress injected themselves into scientific determinations. Half knew of cases in which commercial interests caused the reversal or withdrawal of scientific conclusions.
Many called for the removal of Julia MacDonald, an Interior Department appointee who recently claimed that historical records of millions of sage grouse were "simply a fairy tale" and that the birds did not depend on sagebrush for survival. "They will eat other stuff if it is available," she said. As a result, this endangered bird has been denied protection under the Endangered Species Act, while its habitat continues to be destroyed by commercial interests--gas drilling, mining, and development. Click here for the full report.
Survey of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Scientists
Interior Department interference....70%
Resources and Morale:
Effect on Scientific Candor:
Fear of Retaliation....42%
Ordered to Mislead Public....19%