The Scientific Activist

Yesterday’s Washington Post reported that several environmental groups have obtained strong evidence that Bush Administration political appointee and deputy assistant secretary of the interior for fish and wildlife and parks Julie MacDonald has actively censored scientific information and given elevated and inappropriate consideration to non-environmental concerns in order to prevent the adding of new species to the Endangered Species list. The Union of Concerned Scientists, one of the original organizations to make the revelation, has detailed information on the actions of MacDonald and other appointees at the Department of the Interior on its site. Here at, The Questionable Authority and Thoughts from Kansas put in their two cents on the issue as well.

The evidence is pretty damning, and the culpability reaches to the highest levels, but should anyone really be surprised? Hardly. This is just another item in the long list of political interference in science scandals that have characterized the current administration. Even before this story broke, it was already bad enough that someone with a background in engineering (as opposed to a biological science) was in a position to have such an influence over the scientific determination of whether a species should be considered endangered or not. Hmmm… this sounds a little too familiar.


  1. #1 Paul Browne
    November 1, 2006

    The real question is, can anyone suggest a way for me to become a US citizen and register to vote in time for the mid-terms next week?

  2. #2 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    November 1, 2006

    Why do you keep bringing up these silly issues? The important thing is that Kerry said something that could be interpreted as an insult to the troops! All the papers are abuzz with it, and the chickenhawk-in-chief has demanded an apology. Mission accomplished.

  3. #3 Andies
    November 1, 2006

    I’m agree with Mustafa’s says 😉

  4. #4 kwark
    November 2, 2006

    Ask the opinion of almost any Fish and Wildlife Service employee that has had the misfortune of working on listing or critical habitat rules since 2002. Julie MacDonald is infamous for cherry-picking data, arbitrarily ignoring or highlighting data to suit her desired outcome. All cloaked in her version of “good” science – which, of course, only an engineer can recognize. She views biology itself as a pseudoscience, apparently because the behavior of living organisms isn’t as reliably predictable as that of steel I-beams or concrete highway abutments.

  5. #5 zhongliu
    April 21, 2007

    ?? ?? ??

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