Not long before U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson resigned from President Obama’s cabinet, it was revealed she spent years using a secret e-mail account to conduct official business. Under pressure, the agency has started releasing those e-mails, which provide a glimpse into how top officials at the agency worked to outmaneuver lawmakers and the press. But I found one of Jackson’s e-mails particularly astounding and hypocritical, given the agency’s apparent obsession with politics and PR spin.
“The public health and environmental laws that Congress has enacted depend on rigorous adherence to the best available science,” Jackson wrote in a message to the agency’s 17,000 employees. “That is why, when I became Administrator, I pledged to uphold values of scientific integrity every day.” Jackson added that the EPA’s decisions “should be arrived at independently using well-established scientific methods, including peer review, to assure rigor, accuracy and impartiality.”
As a biologist in a much earlier career, I agree completely with these statements. But I found them shocking because under Jackson’s leadership, the EPA has subjected the state of Alaska and the developer of the proposed Pebble copper mine to one of the most unscientific regulatory assaults in the agency’s 43-year history.
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