Policies that recklessly neglect science and disregard pivotal facts

U.S. policies directly affect a broad spectrum of factors crucial to our quality-of-life, financial stability, and arguably our very survival, yet they are being degraded by willful, feckless negligence. 

On June 15, President Trump issued an executive order directing all federal agencies to evaluate and reduce scientific advisory committees by at least a third. 

That irrational order will mean at least one-third less scientific advice on: 

Desert Flood island with dead tree
  • Drug trials by the FDA
  • Handling and storing extremely hazardous nuclear-waste
  • Food and product safety 
  • Health-care
  • Climate-change
  • Pollution control and pesticide safeguards.

Consider other counterproductive consequences of rejecting rational use of information to protect the public:

  • “For the second year in a row, the U.S. Agriculture Department proposed budget cuts and took other steps that hamper agencies … that supply the data and science needed to support effective farm and food policies.” [The Washington Post,June 7.]
  • Devastating crop-failures in Guatemala, attributed to extreme weather linked to climate-change, is causing mass-migrations northward. Yet, President Trump, who calls climate-change a “Chinese hoax,” harshly restricts immigrants seeking refuge from their homelands where life-threatening conditions exist, while also cutting foreign-aid to those areas.
  • U.S. tariffs against foreign-made products harm American consumers, workers, and taxpayers more than anyone else. Stiff tariffs on China have destroyed demand for key American farm products, resulting in federal agricultural bail-outs costing U.S. taxpayers more than a billion dollars a month.
  • Proposed rollbacks in the fuel-efficiency of U.S.-made vehicles will not only worsen emissions that are a major cause of climate-change, but they will severely injure American car-makers who won’t be able to compete on the global market, as efficiency standards are improved everywhere else.

It’s clear that costly, self-destructive outcomes are being generated by these irresponsible U.S. policies that recklessly neglect science and disregard pivotal facts.

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Image Credit: Desert Flood island with dead tree and clock made of grass created by © Bruce Rolff and licensed by LikeTheDew.com at 123RF.com using contributions by generous readers like you.
David Kyler

David Kyler

David Kyler is the co-director of the Center for a Sustainable Coast, a non-profit membership organization he co-founded in 1997. The Center works to protect, preserve, and sustain the vital natural, cultural, and economic resources of coastal Georgia.

One of David’s deepest convictions, and a founding principle of the Center, is that environmental research, scientific information, and public involvement are urgently needed to improve decisions affecting the sustainability of natural systems. Accordingly, the Center’s slogan is “Advocating responsible decisions to sustain coastal Georgia’s environment and quality of life.”

To pursue the Center’s mission, Kyler gives priority to raising public awareness about issues affecting coastal Georgia at all levels – from local to state and national, to global. He frequently publishes letters and opinion columns in Georgia newspapers, often commenting on controversial issues that require improving the analysis and coordination of both economic and environmental considerations.

In the past three years alone, on behalf of the Center David has published close to one-hundred commentaries on a range of issues, including offshore drilling, protecting Cumberland Island National Seashore, risks of contamination by coal ash and other toxic materials, coastal development controls, and conflicts between environmental protection and economic development practices.

In the past decade, under Kyler’s influence, the Center has been one of the few Georgia non-profit organizations persistently voicing alarm about the global climate crisis and the urgent need to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. In 2018 and 2019 the Center hosted several public forums on climate issues in the Savannah area and collaborated with the Climate Reality Project in organizing a rally in Savannah, scheduled to be coordinated with the international Climate Strike.

Through his work with the Center, David is helping to redefine economic self-interest by incorporating the principles of sustainability in public policies governing both economic development and environmental protection. He is convinced that systemic analysis and life-cycle assessment, including thorough evaluation of economic and societal externalities, are essential to responsible environmental stewardship.

He holds degrees from Lehigh University (BS, Industrial Engineering) and Southern Illinois University (MS, Design Science), and has completed advanced studies in Resource Management and Policy at the State University of New York at Syracuse. Mr. Kyler has worked in environmental policy analysis, regional planning, and public-interest advocacy for over 40 years. He’s been a resident of Saint Simons Island since 1977 and grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.