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Cubin Chairs Hearing on Impact of Science on Public Policy
Cites Bad Data That Leads to Decisions to Lock Away Public Land
Washington - Citing bad scientific data that can adversely affect the management of untold acres of public and private land, the Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals heard testimony today on the need for peer review of the science used in developing environmental policy.
"Bad science inevitably leads to bad public policy," said subcommittee chair Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-WY). "Environmental decisions should be based on scientific facts - not scientific opinions. I don't think it's unreasonable to ask that we require a sound scientific basis for decisions that could lock away thousands of acres of public and private land."
Environmental policy, laws and regulations are often based on scientific research. These policies impact America's national energy and minerals policies, as well as policies for forest management, agriculture and manufacturing. Questions about the quality of scientific data used are often raised by the regulated community and the individuals directly impacted by the regulations.
A glaring example of this is taking place in Wyoming, where the supposed existence of the "threatened" Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse has caused restrictions to be placed on more than 10,000 acres in southern Wyoming.
"The shoddy science collected by the Fish and Wildlife Service still stands, and folks are still going to lose some of the beneficial use of their private lands, all to recover a jumping mouse that no one has yet shown to ever exist in Wyoming," said Cubin.
The situation has deteriorated to the point that many landowners in Wyoming do not allow Fish and Wildlife Service operatives on their property out of concern that the use of their private lands will play second fiddle to the recovery of the jumping mouse.
"These are real people who have real concerns," said Cubin. "Sound science should be the basis for land management decisions, not eyeball estimates."
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