Science Under Siege: The Politician's War on Nature and Truth

Todd Wilkinson, Author, Jim Baca, Introduction by, David Ross Brower, Foreword by
Todd Wilkinson, Author, Jim Baca, Introduction by, David Ross Brower, Foreword by Johnson Books $28 (320p) ISBN 978-1-55566-210-3
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
Paperback - 364 pages - 978-1-55566-211-0
Ebook - 376 pages - 978-0-585-00142-5
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Those assuming that environmental battles are being waged only in picket lines in front of nuclear power plants and toxic landfills will be shocked by Wilkinson's disturbing chronicle of the real environmental trenches--the offices of the federal agencies created to protect the very landscapes that they instead are, according to him, sabotaging. In riveting detail, Wilkinson (Track of the Coyote, etc.) tells eight stories of ""combat biologists"" daring to question the environmental protocols of their superiors in agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service. According to Wilkinson, officials in these agencies ask agency staffers to rewrite reports to make them more development-friendly--even if it means lying about statistics and methodology--and then to transfer or fire workers who refuse to sacrifice sound science to corporate dollars. David Ross, for example, the herpetologist who warned that development was killing spotted frogs in Utah, was transferred to study brine shrimp. ""There may be five hundred species of wildlife found along the San Pedro,"" sums up Harold Vangilder, Sierra Vista mayor pro tem, in addressing the concerns raised by combat biologist Ben Lomeli that the river will soon dry up. ""My response is, so what? What benefit do these animals have for humans?"" Although several of the narratives initially seem unrelated, Wilkinson shows that as the clear-cutting of America's forestland goes, so goes the habitat of the fish and the grizzlies--and of humans as well. (Aug.)
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