Peer Review or Censorship?
The scientific community is up in arms over the latest White House proposal that would, it's critics claim, give The White House control over virtually all information flow coming from federal agencies and, conceivably, let it's industry campaign donors shape -- or thwart -- any regulations it views as too costly.
This week, Democracy Now's Amy Goodman hosted a 13 minute debate between David Michaels and William Kovacs. Michaels is the former assistant secretary for environment, safety and health at the Department of Energy. Now a research professor at the George Washington University's School of Public Health, he opposes the proposal, as does most of the science community.
Presenting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's -- and presumably the Bush Administration's -- position on the debate is William Kovacs, who is the Chamber's Vice President for Environment Technology and Regulatory Affairs. He is the primary officer responsible for developing the Chamber's policy on environment, energy, natural resources, agriculture and food safety, regulatory, and technology issues.
According to Democracy Now, the core of the debate is whether or not the White House's Office of Management and Budget should "manage scientific and technical evaluations -- known as peer reviews -- of all major government rules, plans, proposed regulations and pronouncements. Under the present system, each federal agency controls its emergency notifications and peer review of its projects."
From EV World's perspective, the question is important because such a measure would permit The White House to not just throttle environmental and energy policy, but spin news and events for political purposes, just as it did with the EPA's response to air quality measurements after the destruction of the World Trade Center, to the detriment of public health.
To listen to the 13 minute debate, click the play button on the MP3 Player at the right or download the file to your hard drive to play it offline. Our thanks to Democracy Now for airing this important issue.