Re: [asa] Level of certainty in science

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Tue Feb 06 2007 - 14:05:35 EST

> Unfortunately sometimes the only tool the environmentalists can use is the
> endangered species act. The environmentalists (I consider myself one) did not
> really care for the spotted owl, but that was the only legal way to protect the old
> growth forests that were being cut in the NW.

Australian law allows the designation of habitats as endangered. This
is generally a much better approach than species-by species, though
the latter has its uses.

>There is also a problem that state and federal officials have to do
things by the book, but sometimes that is stupid. I remember talking
to a strip miner in northern Missouri who wished he could restore the
land he was stripping for coal to flat land better suited to
agriculture, but no he had to restore it to its original contours. I
guess I am saying is that often the governmental rules were made for
good reasons, but the public has to live with the way they are
enforced, which is NOT always the best way.<

Endangered species regulations make it much more difficult to do
research on the species, but don't always do much to stop development
that destroys the habitat of the rare species.

In contrast to the case for carbon dioxide and global warming,
sometimes the evidence really does favor a natural cause for
"pollutants". I heard of a lead mine that had problems with
environmentalists despite making good effort to minimalize lead
outflow, until they got a sample from upstream of the mine and showed
that high levels of lead were present there-mine water was actually
lower in lead. On the other hand, some coal mines in western Virginia
are trying to claim that the high levels of coal dust in some rivers
(with critically endangered mussels) comes from passing trains.
Continuous monitoring revealed occasional sudden spikes in coal dust
input in the middle of the night, exactly the pattern expected if
someone is illegally releasing mine water.

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
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Received on Tue Feb 6 14:07:09 2007

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