EPA Scientists Critical Of Leadershiphttp://www.commondreams.org/news2005/0801-02.htm
WASHINGTON - August 1 - There is a growing disconnect between scientists and managers within the research arm of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to internal surveys released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
Lack of trust, communication and shared vision is beginning to threaten the nation's largest scientific organization dedicated to studying human health and the environment.
EPA's Office of Research and Development consists of three national laboratories, four national centers, and two offices located in 14 facilities around the country employing approximately 2,000 scientists.
The latest survey had a 66% response rate.
While overall morale remains high, survey results show increasing doubts about the "competence" and trustworthiness of ORD leadership.
In the 2003 survey --Scientists' trust in leadership declines markedly at each step higher up in the chain-of-command, with 38% of staff scientists reporting distrust of laboratory managers versus only 23% who expressed trust.
"These survey results are the early warning signs of a scientific organization drifting toward dysfunction," stated PEER Program Director Rebecca Roose, noting that during the Bush administration, EPA has been plagued by reports of political suppression of scientific results on issues ranging from global warming to asbestos to mercury regulation.
"Thus far, ORD has chosen to mask problems by initiating an aggressive PR campaign."
The survey results also echo the findings from EPA's Science Advisory Board, which warned in a draft report this April that the agency is no longer funding a credible public health research program.
For example, EPA is falling behind on emerging issues such as intercontinental pollution transport and nanotechnology.
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