Science and Policymaking: Spin on science can lead to mischief and extinction

March 8, 2010 – by Rod Fujita

The National Research Council Reviews Biological Opinions Designed to Protect Endangered Fish Species

On March 15th, the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences will issue an important report. It will detail the NRC’s evaluation of the science that has been used to determine how much water can safely be pumped out of the Delta for cities and farms while preventing the extinction of endangered salmon and other fish.

This science forms the basis of the Biological Opinions at the heart of a very contentious debate over the role of science in policymaking. If science is to serve policy well here, expectations need to be realistic and the results of the NRC review must be accurately communicated. Otherwise, we may see political mischief – the science may be misinterpreted in ways that justify old ways of doing business in the Delta and serve special interests at the expense of salmon, the fishing community, the natural ecosystem, and the public trust.

Click here to read more at EDF’s “On the Water Front” Blog