Free Markets, Free People

drilling ban

Science bows to politics in Obama administration

You may remember this line from President Obama’s inaugural speech: " We will restore science to its rightful place … "?

The implication, of course, is that science had been held hostage to politics and that was no longer going to be tolerated.

Well, until it was necessary to skew it to support Obama’s political agenda, that is:

The White House rewrote crucial sections of an Interior Department report to suggest an independent group of scientists and engineers supported a six-month ban on offshore oil drilling, the Interior inspector general says in a new report. In the wee hours of the morning of May 27, a staff member to White House energy adviser Carol Browner sent two edited versions of the department report’s executive summary back to Interior. The language had been changed to insinuate the seven-member panel of outside experts – who reviewed a draft of various safety recommendations – endorsed the moratorium, according to the IG report obtained by POLITICO.

Of course the usual suspects claim no intention of mislead exists. That it was just part of the "normal editing process".


“At 2:13 a.m. on May 27, 2010, Browner’s staff member sent an e-mail back to Black that contained two versions of the executive summary,” the IG report states. “Both versions sent by the staff member contained significant edits to DOI’s draft executive summary but were very similar to each other.

“Both versions, however, revised and re-ordered the executive summary, placing the peer review language immediately following the moratorium recommendation causing the distinction between the secretary’s moratorium recommendation – which had not been peer-reviewed – and the recommendations contained in the 30-Day Report – which had been peer-reviewed – to become effectively lost.” [emphasis mine]

Unless you’re a totally inept editor and not able to read for comprehension, this should have been obvious to everyone involved. The IG figured it out. Why didn’t Browner and Salazar?

Because, most likely, it said what they wanted said (implications included) exactly as they wanted it said so they could support the position they had already decided was necessary. 

But the denial, as absurd as it is, continues:

Black said he didn’t have any issues with the White House edit; he and his staffer both told the IG it never occurred to them that an objective reader would conclude that peer reviewers had supported the six-month moratorium.

Really? Seriously? Well what about the "objective" readers on the panel:

Nevertheless, Interior apologized to the peer reviewers in early June after some of them complained they were used to support the controversial ban. Salazar also held a conference call with the peer reviewers and met personally with some of them.

Obviously their "objective" reading of the executive summary caused them to conclude otherwise, didn’t it?

Glad to see science is back in the position the president promised it would be under his administration.

Change – a wonderful thing to behold, huh?