Magazine article Academe

Scientists Say Bush Administration Misuses Science

Magazine article Academe

Scientists Say Bush Administration Misuses Science

Article excerpt

Prominent scientists, policy makers, and technical specialists have accused the Bush administration of suppressing or distorting scientific analyses by federal agencies to bring their results into line with administration policy. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) lodged its accusations in a report issued last February and signed by twenty Nobel Laureates and nineteen National Medal of Science recipients in addition to other science researchers. The report says the extent to which the Bush administration has manipulated science is "unprecedented."

In April, John Marburger, III, the president's science adviser, released a point-by-point rebuttal of the report, calling its findings "wrong and misleading." Marburger is director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, part of the executive office of the president.

The scientists' report lists specific instances in which it says high-ranking Bush political appointees censored or misrepresented the research findings of federal agencies. The studies in question analyzed air pollutants, military intelligence, reproductive health, endangered species, and other topics. The report alleges, for example, that senior Bush officials "suppressed and sought to manipulate" information in a study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that found that 8 percent of women of child-bearing age have mercury levels in their blood that could reduce the IQs and motor skills of their offspring. The report notes that this finding "provides strong evidence in direct contradiction to the administration's desired policy of reducing regulation on coal-fired power plants," the nation's largest source of mercury air emissions.

According to the report, the administration has also "repeatedly allowed political considerations to trump scientific qualifications" in the process used for appointing researchers to government advisory bodies. …

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