Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Bush and The EPA II Just in case you weren't certain that the Bush administration is perfectly willing to discard scientific information it finds annoying, check out this article from The New York Times. It seems the Bush administration, unhappy that a soon-to-be-released EPA report concluded that pollution is a contirbutor to global warming, decided simply to excise that section from the report. Writes the Times:

"The report, commissioned in 2001 by the agency's administrator, Christie Whitman, was intended to provide the first comprehensive review of what is known about various environmental problems, where gaps in understanding exist and how to fill them.

Agency officials said it was tentatively scheduled to be released early next week, before Mrs. Whitman steps down on June 27, ending a troubled time in office that often put her at odds with President Bush.

Drafts of the climate section, with changes sought by the White House, were given to The New York Times yesterday by a former E.P.A. official, along with earlier drafts and an internal memorandum in which some officials protested the changes. Two agency officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the documents were authentic.

The editing eliminated references to many studies concluding that warming is at least partly caused by rising concentrations of smokestack and tail-pipe emissions and could threaten health and ecosystems.

Among the deletions were conclusions about the likely human contribution to warming from a 2001 report on climate by the National Research Council that the White House had commissioned and that President Bush had endorsed in speeches that year. White House officials also deleted a reference to a 1999 study showing that global temperatures had risen sharply in the previous decade compared with the last 1,000 years. In its place, administration officials added a reference to a new study, partly financed by the American Petroleum Institute, questioning that conclusion."

The article goes on to quote departing EPA Chief Christie Whitman as follows:

"The first draft, as with many first drafts, contained everything....As it went through the review, there was less consensus on the science and conclusions on climate change."

One suspects the lack of consensus features scientists on one side, with a collection of right-wing political hacks on the other.


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