How Science And Politics Mix – Or Don't – In Washington
When the Delaware River Basin Commission delayed a vote on new hydraulic fracturing regulations this month, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer blamed the hold on officials choosing political maneuvering over scientific fact.
Choosing science over emotion or politics, when it comes to drilling, is a regular talking point for members of the Corbett Administration. That being the case, it’s worth taking a look at this NPR story on how the federal government is balancing the two:
One of the first things President Obama did after he took office was put out a memo that basically said: Don’t mess with science.
The March 9, 2009, memorandum stated that “political officials should not suppress or alter scientific or technological findings and conclusions” and said all government agencies should have appropriate rules and procedures to safeguard the scientific process.
Nearly three years later, only a few have finalized new policies — though they’re starting to be put to the test.
Meanwhile, many more agencies are still drawing up their plans and face a Dec. 17 deadline from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
“The order that President Obama issued in March of 2009 was a better job than I could have written myself. It was quite a bold declaration, and we’re waiting for it to be filled in,” says Jeff Ruch, a lawyer with Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a group that helps scientists who feel they’re under political pressure.