Taking the Smart Out of Science

In case you missed it, this astonishing precursor to the incoming Congress deserves special attention.

Just a week after the election, while the Senate was still nominally in Democratic control, the House was already pressing the imaginary Republican mandate as far as they could.

Passage of H.R. 1422 is one example.

H.R.1422 effectively strips independent scientific expertise from the E.P.A.’s information toolbox and replaces it with captive industrial lobbying.

H.R. 1422, which passed 229-191, would shake up the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board, placing restrictions on those pesky scientists and creating room for experts with overt financial ties to the industries affected by EPA regulations.

Only in the Neverland of Congress could this seem like a reasonable thing to do.

In what might be the most ridiculous aspect of the whole thing, the bill forbids scientific experts from participating in “advisory activities” that either directly or indirectly involve their own work. In case that wasn’t clear: experts would be forbidden from sharing their expertise in their own research.

I guess that, “If you don’t like the message, change the messenger.”  

The “messenger” that the House has just voted to empower is industrial pollution.

This is unsurprising when you consider that those who really control today’s Republican party plan to eliminate the EPA entirely at their first opportunity.  

Climate change? Stuff and nonsense.

Think Progress offers a handy little primer on the Climate Change deniers in the Republican caucus.  One of my favorites:

Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL-15): During his introductory remarks at a House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing, Representative Shimkus read from the bible to prove that global warming will not destroy the earth because only God can decide when the earth will end: “The earth will end only when God declares it is time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood.” [House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment Hearing, 3/25/2009]

Odds are that H.R.1422 will never make it into law, but it should give those who sat out the midterms pause for serious reflection.

If we fail to take the car keys away from the two year olds in 2016, they will surely drive us right over the cliff.

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

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