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[GreenYes] Politics, Science & the Environment
Federal Agency Budget Cuts



Date: 4/19/01 10:40:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time 
From:    txtrky@SELWAY.UMT.EDU (Vicki Watson) 
Sender:    ECOLOG-L@UMDD.UMD.EDU (Ecological Society of America: grants,
jobs, news) 
To:    ECOLOG-L@UMDD.UMD.EDU 




The following letter was sent to our local papers & read over our local
radio station. 

Bushwhacking Science & the Environment       
4-16-2001 

by Dr. Vicki Watson, Univ. Montana Environmental Studies
(for identification only) 
      

During his campaign, George W. Bush often said: 

"Efforts to improve our environment must be based on sound science,  not 
social fads." 

But it's not clear what 'sound science' sounds like to Bush. 

When the country's most respected body of scientists, the National
Academy 
of Science, weighed 60 years of evidence and  recommended tightening the 
old drinking water standard for arsenic because it could cause 1 in 100 
people exposed to get cancer, Bush couldn't hear that sound science. When

the world's climatologists organized the Interagency Panel on Climate 
Change, and after evaluating the evidence,  stated there is sufficient 
evidence to conclude human-caused global warming is occurring, Bush 
couldn't hear that. 

But despite Bush's deafness, apparently, the sounds made by scientists
are 
starting to get on the nerves of some folks in the Bush administration 
because they decided to silence that sound by cutting funding for science

that addresses the environment. The Bush budget whacks many environmental

science and information programs. Research programs in every
environmental 
and natural resource agency are taking big hits, some crippling. Any 
apparent increases are simply transfers of funds from related programs
and 
always represent an overall loss to science & environmental protection. 

EPA & Agriculture (including the Forest Service & the Natural Resource 
Conservation Service) will have less science on which to base their 
environmental decisions. So will Interior's BLM and Fish & Wildlife 
Service. Surprisingly, Bush is also cutting noncontroversial science 
agencies considered to provide objective information--agencies like 
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, the Smithsonian, the 
National Science Foundation and the US Geological Survey. The cuts to the

USGS are particularly telling. This most respected of natural resource 
science programs is slated to lose almost 1/10 of its budget. And the
cuts 
are concentrated in their water and wildlife programs (1/5 of these
budgets 
would be cut). All across the nation people rely on the USGS to predict 
flood, drought, earthquake & other hazards. Decision makers rely on their

stream flow and water quality records, their studies of toxic substances,

their natural resource mapping. But under the Bush budget, many will have

to look elsewhere for sound science. 

The dollars cut from these agencies are infinitesimal drops in the
federal 
budget. They are not to save money -- they are to silence the pesky 
scientists who keep making it hard for big corporations to say that there

is insufficient evidence that we are depleting our resources, poisoning 
ourselves and driving many species to extinction. And that there are 
alternatives to doing this. 

In addition to cutting environmental science, the Bush budget cuts
programs 
to protect the environment and public health and to conserve natural 
resources. These programs are being cut 7% (11% after inflation). So
that's 
less funding for clean water programs, for renewable energy and 
conservation, for habitat protection and restoration.   Citizens and 
scientists agree that we need these programs. But not President Bush. 

So what does sound science sound like to Bush?    (sound of jingling
change) 

Sources: 
http://www.cnie.org/Updates/96.htm 
http://www.usgs.gov/budget/2002/ 
http://www.nrdc.org/legislation/abushbud.asp 







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