Lots of speculation about Obama’s appointments and perhaps the most science oriented one is Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Wired has a list of the rumored possibles, via Bloomberg:
Leading candidates for the position, reports Bloomberg News, include former Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection head Kathleen McGinty; California Air Resources Board leader Mary Nichols; Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection leader Ian Bowles; Kansas governor Kathleen Sibelius; New Jersey environmental commissioner Lisa Jackson; and environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Brandon Keim, Wired)
I join my fellow SciBlings Orac, PalMD, Blake and Coturnix (and Wired’s Keim) in a big thumbs down on RFK, Jr. He may be the favorite of some in the environmental movement but he is not a favorite of scientists for a simple reason: his uninformed championing of the vaccination/autism case speaks poorly for his commitment to relying on scientific evidence. Scientists, like progressive Democrats, prefer to live in a reality-based world. Aas Wired’s Keim aptly put it:
Only Kennedy strikes me as weak. His environmental track record is excellent, but he’s clung to the vaccines-causing-autism hypothesis long after large-scale epidemiological studies have discredited it as anything but a statistically insignificant cause. America doesn’t need more political officials who skew science to fit personal beliefs. And perhaps more importantly, heading the EPA, with its thousands of employees and $7.2 billion budget, will be a far more difficult managerial task than negotiating environmental lawsuits.
The list of possible EPA candidates is pretty good, except for RFK, Jr. The Obama campaign needs to hear the reality-based community, not the ideologically based community.