Science, Ignored Again

The New York Times Op/Ed section has a scathing article about the Bush administration rejecting the recommendations of experts inside and outside the government who had urged a significant tightening of federal standards regulating the amount of soot in the air. From the article:

At issue were so-called fine particles, tiny specks of soot that are less than one-thirtieth the diameter of a human hair. They penetrate deep into the lungs and circulatory system and have been implicated in tens of thousands of deaths annually from both respiratory and coronary disease. The E.P.A., obliged under the Clean Air Act to set new exposure levels every five years, tightened the daily standard. But it left unchanged the annual standard, which affects chronic exposure and which the medical community regards as more important.

In so doing, the agency rejected the recommendation of its own staff scientists and even that of its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Council, a 22-member group of outside experts that had recommended a significant tightening of the standards. Stephen Johnson, the agency administrator, claimed there was “insufficient evidence” linking health problems to long-term exposure. He added that “wherever the science gave us a clear picture, we took clear action,” noting also that “there was not complete agreement on the standard.”

Don’t these guys ever get tired of these games? It’s always the same argument. “I’m sorry, you can’t absolutely, positively, show a 100% proof with no wiggle room for interpretation therefore I reject the entire argument out of hand even though anyone with a brain in his head can see that you’re right.” It’s the “reasonable doubt” clause that we’re so use to hearing from legal circles again. Except that as usual, it’s not “reasonable”, it’s just doubt.

How is it we can wage war with the almost no credible evidence and then ignore mountains of evidence in a clean air recommendation? The answer is of course money. What drives me crazy is these guys are already rich to the point of dynastic wealth. How much more do they need?

Remember the 2000 census? I remember watching Senate speeches about how we can’t trust “statistics” and that we should have a full, fair and honest count. Census counts have always under-counted and everyone knows it. But does that stop these guys? Hell no. They stand up at their podiums and pronounce the perniciousness of this “math” as a calculated attempt to distort the truth. The arguments are so thinly veiled as to be laughable.

It amazes me how arguments get twisted to favor whatever agenda is being put forth. What ever happened to well reasoned informed decisions? No, let’s just ignore the fact finders and experts (unless they happen to agree with something we want) and add a few more millions to our own fortunes and call it a day. Sad.

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