Sunday, 18 November 2007

What you don’t know will hurt you – Bush and Harper cut environmental research

“How are EPA scientists supposed to engage in cutting edge research when they cannot find what the agency has already done?” asks US PEER's Jeff Ruch. In 2006 the White House cut $2 million of a total agency library budget of $2.5 million, including the entire $500,000 budget for the EPA Headquarters library and its electronic catalog. These reductions are just a small portion of the $300 million in cuts to EPA. Five libraries were closed and public access to their data is now impossible. Promises to make the data available online are hollow since this will take at least 2 years.

Out of one pocket, into another. Bush hiked EPA funding to private companies in the American Competitive Initiative to $4.6 billion last year (totalling $86.4b by 2016), ensuring that US science will be controlled by corporate interests. PEER charges the Bush administration with “unprecedented political manipulation of environmental science to filter out inconvenient facts”.

Nor has the Harper government been idle. On 22 Oct 2007 the Canadian Society of Environmental Biologists protested that
"several budgets within Environment Canada have recently been 'frozen' or cut… the Migratory Bird program, the national Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Network, and our Canadian treasures, the National Wildlife Areas. The overall budget of the Canadian Wildlife Service has apparently been frozen. Among the important benefits of these programs, they all contribute to our understanding of the effects of global warming."
To date, Minister Baird’s only response has been to tender a 'psychological intervention' to tell CWS employees to shut up and follow his script. Gossip is that they are resigning in droves.

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