19 Dec 2006 fejj   » (Master)

The other day there was an article about how the White House is censoring the USGS (as posted on Slashdot).

As a matter of course, Slashdot posters used this as another reason to fling mud at the Bush Administration, using arguments such as:

From the article: "This is not about stifling or suppressing our science, or politicizing our science in any way,'' Barbara Wainman, the agency's director of communications, said Wednesday. "I don't have approval authority. What it was designed to do is to improve our product flow.''

They aren't even trying to justify their actions anymore. They're just filtering science from public view, and insisting that it is improvement.

Ryan Fenton

This is pretty typical Left Wing anti-Republican propoganda. Remember: anyone who wants to see a conspiracy will see a conspiracy. Lets read the article carefully, here.

From the article:

The Bush administration, as well as the Clinton administration before it, has been criticized over scientific integrity issues. In 2002, the USGS was forced to reverse course after warning that oil and gas drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would harm the Porcupine caribou herd. One week later a new report followed, this time saying the caribou would not be affected.

This points out that in the past, there were data integrity issues coming from the USGS's reports (in this case from the Fish and Wildlife Department of the USGS). Is there any doubt in anyone's mind that this is a good reason for reform?

I'd like to ask: what was the Fish and Wildlife Department doing claiming that oil and gas drilling would harm wildlife in the area at all? That's not what the USGS's reports are for. The USGS is for reporting the facts, not sensationalist propoganda. What was reported was not objective, it was opinion.

A little searching provides us with the following link to the USGS's Guidelines for Ensuring Quality of Information. Section III states:

The USGS provides unbiased, objective scientific information upon which other entities may base judgments.

So again, I ask, backed by the above criteria, why was the Fish and Wildlife Department making judgements about what could potentially happen? This is not the job of the USGS, as stated clearly above, it is the job of third parties who acquire data provided by the USGS.

The purpose of this policy change is to prevent the pushing of political agendas within USGS reports which has no business in scientific reports in the first place.

Update: The USGS responds to the sensationalism surrounding their new policy changes.

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