Perry Officials Deny Science and Don’t Mind Lying to You About It

Well, I guess now we know.  Rick Perry and his cronies are OK with destroying the Texas coastline.

Recently a decade long report was produced (Chapter 5) John B Anderson.  Dr. Anderson, I believe, is a professor at Rice University and an expert (in part) in the Sea-level rise along the Texas upper coast. It was heavily edited by a Katherine Nelson, who, I suspect does not have a doctoral degree in marine science, geological science, or climate science.

The report is a summary of ten years of research… most of which has been peer-reviewed.   This report was presented to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and was approved… until it got to the upper management level.

The upper management of The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, have heavily edited the document to the point where it is useless.  Anderson and others have flatly refused to have anything to do with the revised document and have requested to have their names removed from it.

Mother Jones has this information and a copy of the document itself… with track changes ON.  Anderson provided the edited document to Mother Jones.

You can get the full report here.

Let me take you through a few of the changes made to the document.

The sentences “Hence the very existence of Galveston Bay is attributed to sea level rise.  it is ironic that its future will be strongly regulated by the now rising sea.” were deleted from the introduction.  How innocuous (and correct) is that?  But it doesn’t fit the notions of the climate deniers that sea level rise doesn’t exist (and therefore won’t damage property values along the bay and Texas coast).

On page 3 we find this sentence in the original: “Wetlands are also the most rapidly disappearing component of the estuarine complex, due mainly to direct human intervention.”  Guess what was deleted.  Yep “, due mainly to direct human intervention”.  Why employ scientists if you reject what the data they generate says.

My favorite change is the next one, also on page 3.  Here’s the original.

The same thing is currently happening along the south shore of the West Bay.  Bulkheads have been constructed at the edge of the wetlands and wetlands development has been allowed to fill and build on through a regulatory permitting process.

Compare to the revised (revision underlined here for clarity).

The same thing is currently happening along the south shore of the West Bay.  Bulkheads have been constructed at the edge of the wetlands and wetlands have been developed as authorized through a regulatory permitting process.

Who authorized the development?  Perry.  Why? Because rich people could buy wetlands areas very cheaply, then, as regulations changed, could develop those lands increasing their value many times.

Here’s two other totally deleted sentences. “The contrast between these 2 subbays provides documentation of the impact humans have had on wetlands.” And “As sea level rise continues, management of wetlands resources will need to address changing conditions.”

Wow, there is direct, comparable differences in two current areas that show the impact of humans.  But I guess the Texas government doesn’t want that getting out.

You know, our world is built on change.  Nothing is ever static.  Yet, some people refuse to accept that… even after it’s too late.  Go ahead, ask the people of New Orleans what has been done to prepare for the next hurricane that hits them?  Not much.  When all of Houston, Baytown, Galveston, Texas City, Clear Lake and those towns are underwater, what will the politicians say then?

There is a section on Sea Level Change.  The opening line of the edited document is “Sea level has changed over time.”  I can’t tell what the original says because so much was deleted, it doesn’t all appear in the track changes notes on the PDF.

There are four deletions in the first paragraph and six deletions in the second paragraph including an entire figure and all references to that figure.

In the next few paragraphs the words ‘rise’, ‘rising’, and ‘significant’ are all deleted and replaced with ‘change’.

On page 9, there is an entire paragraph deleted except for the opening sentence.  The next paragraph is edited significantly as well… oops, I mean ‘changed’.

There are several more deletions and changes.  But I want to mention one VERY signification alteration.

There is a page and a half of Literature Cited at the end of the document.  However, the editors (Hi Katherine) deleted three cited references!

Let’s look at which ones.  It’s quite enlightening.  [These are difficult to read at max zoom, please forgive me if I don’t get the names right.]

1) Gelrels, R. and S. “Acceleration of sea level rise in the past 200 years.”  Read at Quaternary Association Program and Abstracts of the 2008 Biannual meeting at University Park Pennsylvania

2) Rabrostorf, S. et. al. “Recent climate observations compared to projections.” Science 316 (5825) 709.

3) White, W.A. “Wetland losses related to fault movement and hydrocarbon production, southeastern Texas coast.” Jounral of Coastal Research no. 13: 1305-1320, 1997.

Oh crap, they cited something that made the petrochemical industry look bad.  No wonder it was edited.  Can’t have that.  The corporate masters might get mad and not pay for the next election.

I can see why real scientists wouldn’t want their names associated with this edited document.

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