Help From My Friends, Part 5: Scientists or Advocates?

by Aaron Johnson, Manager of Communications on June 18, 2015 - 1:28pm

Concluding our analysis of the scientific peer-review process in our “Help from My Friends” series, we highlight a group of 11 scientists.

Earlier this spring, this group of scientists sent a letter criticizing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for not doing enough to protect Greater Sage-Grouse because the agencies aren’t implementing specific policies that these scientists have advocated for.

Their preferred policies include closing unspecified lands to mining and energy development, applying conditions to existing leases, imposing 3% disturbance caps, and limiting grazing.

These scientist-advocates also criticize BLM, specifically the Lander Resource Management Plan (RMP), because it followed the Wyoming state plan, which is tailored for actual conditions on the ground, rather than one-size-fits-all federal policies.

Let Me Tell You…

Here’s the rub: All 11 scientists are identified in our Data Quality Act challenge as having interlocking relationships as authors of the government reports that are supposedly scientific compilations, but are actually compilations of selected science from these same authors.

This group is using science as a justification while advocating for policies that aren’t actually supported by the full range of quality science. And they’ve received multi-millions from the agencies that they’re supposedly supplying with independent science.

We know friends have a tendency toward group think, but you would expect “reputable” scientists to exercise more restraint.

More to the Story

More information is available about this topic on our DQA webpage and our previous posts at:

Part 1: Distorting the Peer Review Process

Part 2: Conflicts of Interest

Part 3: Agencies Ignoring Predation

Part 4: Scientific Insularity