By Bryan Rahija
POGO was hoping President Obama would touch on several key reform topics in last night's State of the Union address, but one that we were keeping a particularly watchful eye for was the issue of scientific integrity.
That's partly because POGO recently unearthed internal emails suggesting that the White House placed public relations over science in last year's controversial report on the oil spill, which in fact was referred to as a "communication product" internally, according to the emails.
All this prompted POGO to send a letter yesterday to the President raising questions about the White House's handling of the report. Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) also wrote a blistering letter to the President, which you may read here.
You can find a quick rundown of the issue and a POGO statement here, but be sure to check out coverage by The Huffington Post's Dan Froomkin, The Times-Picayune's David Hammer, and E&E News, if you're a subscriber.
As POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian said in today's statement, “It’s extremely troubling that the White House may have suppressed sound scientific recommendations in order to massage its message to the public.”
Wasn't there a memo about this whole scientific integrity thing recently?
UPDATE: Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones has a response from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about POGO's letter to the White House:
EPA was not directly involved in the creation of the oil budget, and many of the issues involved were outside EPA's mandate. EPA officials and scientists were among many who participated in a robust conversation about specific technical and scientific issues. All good scientific discussions involve a robust back and forth among scientists, and that's exactly what happened here.
Bryan Rahija is POGO's Blog Editor.
Image: The White House.