The reactionary campaign against knowledge and information is reaching frightening new heights.
The Environmental Protection Agency has been ordered by the White House to "shut down [its] libraries, end public access to research materials and box up unique collections on the assumption that Congress will not reverse President Bush's proposed budget reductions." Fifteen states will lose library service immediately, the rest will follow, and the public is to be turned away as soon as possible. Unsurprisingly, EPA scientists are protesting, saying that the lack of access to data will impair their research and scientific capabilities. The Administration says its plan is to "centralize" control of all data; EPA scientists say the real goal is to "suppress information on environmental and public health-related topics." The Administration is not yet burning books, but they are getting very close.
They're not much fonder of telling the truth -- the whole truth -- over at the Defense Department. The Department has refused to complete congressionally ordered studies of the potential security threat to radar systems from wind turbines. Until it finishes that study, Defense is blocking all new wind turbines that might help reduce our dependence on what the President calls our "addiction" to oil and natural gas "often from insecure places."
The Sierra Club sued and demanded that Defense finish the study. (Of course, if wind turbines actually were a threat to our air defense systems, you would think that the Department of Defense would be rushing to prove it and make us safer by dealing with the thousands that already exist.)
But Defense has refused to respond to the Club's motion. Now, Defense has informed us that it will miss the 60-day deadline for that response and will need an additional five weeks to answer the complaint. In other words, the Department claims that it needs more than three months to tell a Court why it cannot finish what was supposed to be a six-month study. This is giving stonewalling a whole new meaning.
Nor will the Department of Defense tell us how many wind projects it has stopped, even though it has issued "don't proceed" orders to each one, so the information is obviously available. According to media reports, at least 15 wind farm proposals in the Midwest alone have already been shut down. The list of stalled projects includes one outside of Bloomington, Illinois, that would have been the nation's largest source of wind energy -- generating enough electricity to power 120,000 homes in the Chicago area.
But scientists are good for one thing -- as scapegoats. Only a few weeks ago, reactionary columnist Peggy Noonan was setting up the climate science community to take the fall for Bush Administration inaction on global warming. According to Noonan, if only global warming scientists weren't such obvious liberal hacks, the world would have acted in time. Scientists, Noonan said, are responsible, "for refusing to be honest, for operating in cliques and holding to ideologies. For failing to be trustworthy." She could not, however, cite a single example of such behavior. Perhaps all her evidence had already all been hidden away under lock and key in the EPA's "deaccessed" library system.
This Is What the Scientists Told Us Global Warming Would Be Like
Max Mayfield, director of the U.S. National Hurricane Center, says Katrina was far from the worst hurricane we will experience.
"People think we have seen the worst. We haven't," Mayfield told Reuters in an interview at the fortress-like hurricane center in Florida. "I think the day is coming. I think eventually we're going to have a very powerful hurricane in a major metropolitan area worse than what we saw in Katrina and it's going to be a mega-disaster. With lots of lost lives," Mayfield said.
And This Is What We Can Do About It
The "two-mode" hybrid engine being developed in Detroit by General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and BMW would increase the fuel efficiency of big SUVs and large luxury cars by at least 25 percent.