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AIBS Writes to Interior Officials Regarding Scientific Integrity

November 19, 2010

The Honorable Ken Salazar
and
Director Michael Bromwich
United States Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Mr. Secretary and Director Bromwich:

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) recently implemented a policy that requires all presentations authored by bureau employees be reviewed by headquarters public affairs personnel prior to public release. Without clarification, this policy could lead to violations of the Interior-wide policy on scientific integrity.

The scientific integrity directive you issued in September 2010 requires bureaus to disseminate scientific and technological findings and conclusions without alteration or suppression. BOEMRE's new requirement for review of technical presentations by the headquarters public affairs office could lead to abuses of this policy, such as delaying the release of scientific information because of backlogs in the public affairs review process.

Additionally, the new policy could interfere with the ability of agency scientists to participate in the activities of scientific and professional societies, which are protected under the Interior-wide policy. For instance, a scientist employed at BOEMRE may be unable to present his or her latest research findings at a scientific conference because of the presentation review requirements.

We strongly encourage BOEMRE to clarify its new internal review policy for presentations to ensure that science is not subverted. Please contact AIBS Director of Public Policy Dr. Robert Gropp if we may be of further assistance on this issue.

Sincerely,

Richard T. O'Grady, Ph.D.
Executive Director

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