by Janet RitzCross-posted on Reuters, The Huffington Post
The Union of Concerned Scientists has released an online survey of thousands of EPA scientists in which over half the scientists cited political interference in their work and their findings.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was founded with the simple yet profound charge "to protect human health and the environment." Yet a new UCS survey of scientists at the agency reveals that challenges from industry lobbyists and some political leaders have led to the suppression and distortion of EPA scientific findings--to the detriment of both science and the health of our nation.Henry Waxman, D-CA, has called the findings "disturbing." He plans to pursue the issue at an Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in which [EPA Administrator] Stephen Johnson is scheduled to testify.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hundreds of Environmental Protection Agency scientists complain they have been victims of political interference and pressure from superiors to skew their findings, according to a survey released Wednesday by an advocacy group. ~snip~ "The investigation shows researchers are generally continuing to do their work, but their scientific findings are tossed aside when it comes time to write regulations," Grifo said.An EPA spokesman attempted to minimize the findings, attributing the discontent to the "passion" scientists have for their work.
This is not the first time in recent months that the EPA has come under scrutiny. In March, information came to light that President Bush had intervened on a smog standard and about an ongoing cat and mouse game on greenhouse emissions between the EPA and 18 states now suing the federal agency.
The survey was filled out by 5,500 scientists, most of them senior and with the EPA for over ten years. Four in ten said the political interference they'd been experiencing is more prevalent in the last five years. They described an agency low in moral as White House Office of Management and Budget officials (not scientists) second guess their findings and change their results.
EPA management initially told the scientists they could not participate in the survey. An EPA attorney countermanded that order, pointing out that they had a right to fill it out during non-work hours.
5,500 did just that.
LABELS: ENVIRONMENT, EPA, HUFFINGTON POST, POLITICS, REUTERS, SCIENCE, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS