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Commentaries and editorials

Scientists Unhappy
with Fisheries Agency

by Blaine Harden, Staff Writer
The Washington Post, July 2, 2005

A survey of scientists working for the U.S. agency responsible for protecting endangered fish finds that half think their work has been politicized.

The Union of Concerned Scientists and Public Employees for Economic Responsibility released their report this week on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service, The Washington Post reported.

The groups sent the survey to 460 scientists and 27 percent responded. Two-thirds of respondents said they do not think their agency is effective, and half said that its findings have been influenced by commercial lobbyists or senior officials.

Stephen Murawski, a scientific adviser to the agency, said the survey was faulty because only a small fraction of its scientists responded.

The survey comes in the midst of a battle over preservation of salmon in the Columbia River and its tributaries. In late June, a federal appeals court upheld a judge's order opening spillways in dams in the Columbia and Snake rivers.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge James Redden had harsh words for a Bush administration report that called the dams part of the rivers' environmental baseline. Redden said it was written "more in cynicism than in sincerity."

Blaine Harden, Washington Post Staff Writer
Scientists Unhappy with Fisheries Agency
The Washington Post July 2, 2005

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