O Force Politicizes Science; Administration Kills Gulf Jobs on Spurious Grounds

Article excerpt


Gulf Coast residents have plenty of reasons to be furious at the Obama administration's ham-handed, job-killing responses to last spring's BP oil spill. A new report by the Interior Department's inspector general further roils the waters.

Interior IG Mary L. Kendall reported last week that the staff of White House energy czar Carol M. Browner improperly edited a report on how to improve safety in deep-sea drilling. The effect was to indicate falsely that there was scientific support for President Obama's decision to impose a six-month moratorium on such energy production. The truth was that seven scientists and industry experts peer-reviewed a number of new safety measures but didn't sign off on the moratorium. Five of the seven favored targeted inspections rather than an outright ban.

The difference was important. The Obama administration persistently peddles the myth that its decisions are driven by science rather than politics. White House editing of the report fed this myth and provided a veneer of purportedly scientific cover for the politically controversial moratorium.

The inspector general neither challenged nor fully accepted White House claims that the editing error was inadvertent rather than deliberately deceptive. Yet it wasn't the only time this year that Ms. Browner was responsible for meaningful deception. The presidential commission on the oil spill criticized her for having claimed during the summer that most of the oil was gone when a government analysis said most of it could still be there, and it criticized her again for implying that her assertions had been peer-reviewed. …