The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Can Science Survive the Bush Administration?

One hundred and sixty days. Can science survive?

The Bush administration has 160 days left to totally destroy the fragile policy infrastructure that nature relies on. One policy at a time.

Remember when Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testified before the Senate on global warming?

Remember how the White House eviscerated her testimony, so the health risks from climate change were ignored or watered down?

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. wrote a piece for The Nation in 2004 titled The Junk Science of George W. Bush. In this he compared the Bush administration's science polices to those of the Catholic church's control of science in the 1600's that insisted the earth was the center of the universe. Discoveries by Copernicus and Galileo that taught otherwise were stymied. "A less restrained heliocentrist, Giordano Bruno, was burned alive in 1600 for the crime of sound science."

Kennedy also cites several examples where Bush Science has endangered the public. Declaring the air at ground zero after 9-11 "safe to breathe" on September 18 while 25 % of EPA air quality tests taken before September 18 showed asbestos levels to be above the public safety benchmark is one example. Seventy eight percent of rescue workers had lung ailments as a result.

Or there is Dr. James Zahn, a researcher with the Department of Agriculture, who " had identified bacteria that can make people sick--and that are resistant to antibiotics--in the air surrounding industrial-style hog farms." His supervisor ordered him not to reveal his findings, after prompting by lobbyists from the National Pork Producers Council.

The article cites many other examples.

So today, I read this in the Birmingham News (link from The Tennessean, with more information than the local paper printed).

"The Bush administration wants federal agencies to decide for themselves whether highways, dams, mines and other construction projects might harm endangered animals and plants." New regulations such as this do not require congressional approval, so they can just do away with the independent oversight that scientists have been performing for 35 years.

Interior secretary Dirk Kempthorne said these changes were needed to prevent the Endangered Species Act from being used as a "back door" to regulate greenhouse gases.

"The draft rules also would bar federal agencies from assessing the emissions from projects that contribute to global warming and its effect on species and habitats."

Can you say, "goodbye Polar Bear?"

The polar bear, of course, was declared a threatened species in May, with the U. S. Interior Department saying it must be protected because of the decline in Arctic sea ice because of global warming.

These rule changes would allow federal agencies to ignore the threat posed by global warming and decide for themselves whether or not to comply with the endangered species Act.

"If adopted, these changes would seriously weaken the safety net of habitat protections that we have relied upon to protect and recover endangered fish, wildlife and plants for the past 35 years," said John Kostyack, executive director of the National Wildlife Federation's Wildlife Conservation and Global Warming initiative. "

"This is the fox guarding the hen house. The interests of agencies will outweigh species protection interests," said Eric Glitzenstein, an attorney representing environmental groups. "What they are talking about doing is eviscerating the Endangered Species Act."

160 Days. Can Bush destroy the world?

No comments: