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Cheney Goes Whaling

I can't say I've devoted a ton of attention to the sundry "save the whales!" campaigns out there. Nothing against the whales, mind you, it's just that the days are short and there's plenty else to fret about. But Dick Cheney, it seems, really does have something against whales. Paul Kiel reports that his office has been working overtime to delay new rules on ship speed near ports, rules that would help reduce whale injuries and deaths:

Another internal document shows that the officials working for the Vice President also raised spurious objections to the science. According to this document, the Vice President's staff "contends that we have no evidence (i.e., hard data) that lowering the speeds of 'large ships' will actually make a difference.

NOAA rejected these objections, writing that both a statistical analysis of ship strike records and the peer-reviewed literature justified the final rule. In its response to the objections from the Vice President's staff, NOAA reported that there is "no basis to overturn our previous conclusion that imposing a speed limit on large vessels would be beneficial to whales.

Why on earth Cheney's making his staff spend so much time "reviewing" the literature on whale deaths in order to challenge government scientists on the subject... well, that's a good question, isn't it?

--Bradford Plumer