Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Truth. What Truth?

Truth is relative in the wingnut world, which is funny as it's us who are usually blamed for relativism of all types. But it's the wingnuts who view facts as just one more of those pesky things which hate America.

The most recent proof of this comes from some gentle rewriting that happened to a Bureau of Land Management report on the environmental impact of cattle grazing on public land. The Bush administration wants cattle to graze on such land, even though they are normally free-marketeers, but the report pointed out that easing limits on cattle grazing would damage both wildlife and the quality of water. These bits were edited out from the final report:

Last week, the Bureau of Land Management made it easier to graze cattle on public land, despite objections from its own scientists. Grazing cattle can denude the West's arid lands, a special concern given the recent drought in the region. Two BLM scientists -- a biologist and a hydrologist, both of whom recently retired from the bureau -- predicted that easing limits on cattle grazing would hurt wildlife and water quality. But their objections were edited out of a BLM report. Who needs to trouble with dissent when you can just delete it?

"This is a whitewash. They took all of our science and reversed it 180 degrees," Erick Campbell, a former BLM state biologist in Nevada told the Los Angeles Times. "They rewrote everything," Campbell said. "It's a crime."

Campbell retired recently after 30 years at the agency. Here's more on how he was thanked for his years of service: "The original draft of the environmental analysis warned that the new rules would have a 'significant adverse impact' on wildlife, but that phrase was removed. The bureau now concludes that the grazing regulations are 'beneficial to animals,'" the Times reported.

Maybe these scientists made arguments which would not ultimately hold, or maybe not. In either case, why aren't the readers of the report allowed to judge that?