[env-trinity] Ensuring Scientific Integrity at the Department of Interior, Secy of Interior Order, 9.29.2010

Emelia Berol ema.berol at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 30 19:47:34 PDT 2010

Hallelulia! Too bad it's not retroactive ... 

From: Byron Leydecker <bwl3 at comcast.net>
To: FOTR List <fotr at mailman.dcn.org>; Trinity List <env-trinity at mailman.dcn.org>
Sent: Thu, September 30, 2010 4:29:29 PM
Subject: [env-trinity] Ensuring Scientific Integrity at the Department of 
Interior, Secy of Interior Order, 9.29.2010

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility News Release (www.peer.org) 

For Immediate Release: September 29, 2010
Contact: Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337

Could Be Transformative

Washington, DC — The Secretary of Interior today issued a far-reaching order 
that may significantly improve the transparency, reliability and verifiability 
of its scientific and technical work, according to Public Employees for 
Environmental Responsibility (PEER).  Interior’s action will likely have 
government-wide influence on the Obama administration’s struggling effort to 
craft a new system of scientific integrity safeguards. 

Today Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued a “secretarial order” which 
immediately becomes official policy.  This order represents a dramatic break from 
the agency’s checkered past and contains sweeping new mandates, including –  

>• A ban on political appointees rewriting or altering scientific documents; 
>• Transparency that allows changes in technical documents to be tracked; and 
>• Whistleblower protection for scientists who report manipulation of technical 

These and other changes in the Salazar order now must be reduced into specific 
procedural steps for inclusion in the departmental manual and incorporation into 
guidance for individual Interior agencies, such as the National Park Service, 
Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. 
Geological Survey and the successors to the former Minerals Management Service. 

 “We congratulate Secretary Salazar for taking a major step forward in 
protecting both the integrity of government science and its scientists,” stated 
PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, who has been on of Interior’s harshest 
critics on this topic.  “There are still a lot of details to be worked out but if 
agency rules reflect the spirit of this order, then government science will be 
much more transparent and trustworthy.”  

Major elements of Secretary Salazar’s order reflect steps long advocated by PEER 
and other reform groups, including clear rules allowing scientists to speak to 
the public, lifting bars against involvement in scientific professional 
societies and punishment for managers who skew technical data or findings.  These 
broad policy strokes, however, now must be translated into enforceable internal 

Interior’s action will also affect the stalled presidential scientific integrity 
initiative that was supposed to have been in place in 2009 but is still in 
limbo.  Interior not only leapt ahead of the tardy White House Office of Science 
& Technology Policy effort but set a bar that all other agencies will have to 
meet, or else explain why Interior can implement policies that are beyond their 

“While this is a welcome development, we have seen bold rhetorical commitments 
to scientific integrity before without follow-up,” added Ruch, noting that the 
Interior order did not set a deadline for promulgation of implementing rules. 
 “Once the rules are in place, they must be enforced.  So, we will wait for the 
day when this administration punishes one of its own political appointees for 
covering up or sugarcoating inconvenient facts.” 

Read the Secretarial Order 
Compare the original Interior proposal 

See the stalled Obama scientific integrity agenda 
Byron Leydecker, JcT
Chair, Friends of Trinity River
PO Box 2327
Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327
415 383 4810 land/fax
415 519 4810 mobile
bwl3 at comcast.net 
bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org 

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