Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on June 24, 2008
Cheney Preferred Type of Right Whale – Hanging from the museum ceiling. Photos by Cryptonaut
Should it really come as any surprise that Dick Cheney is using misinformation and sheer disregard for real science to block protection for one of the most endangered species on the planet? Not to me. After 7 ½ years, I understand that business for these guys is more important than anything else. Whether it’s negotiating an energy policy in secret or requiring “sound science” before doing anything about climate change, Bush – Cheney, actually – and his cronies are simply not interested when it comes to doing anything that might prevent big business from raking in huge profits.
The story of the right whale is no different. There are only about 350 of them left and at least 3 are killed each year by freighter ships headed for either Georgia or Massachusetts. According to government scientists, “the loss of just one more pregnant female is enough to doom the species” (UK The Independent).
Cheney’s office, working in secrecy as usual, objected to a NOAA recommendation to reduce freighter speeds to 10 knots in areas where the whales feed and calve during specific times of the year. Cheney’s staff argued, “we have no evidence that lowering speeds of ‘large ships’ will actually make a difference,” according to a secret, leaked document. NOAA fired back that there is indeed a strong relationship between a ship’s speed and the risk of injury to a whale. European shipping companies joined the fray, citing injury to an already‐weakened economy as a reason to keep the pedal to the metal.
Congress has taken notice, too. Representative Henry Waxman of California says this is just more of the same from an administration that continues to ignore science and other experts in favor of big business.
I’m not an economist, but doesn’t the opportunity cost of losing another species outweigh the economic cost of getting some goods to market. No one is saying don’t bring the goods; just slow down in sensitive areas at sensitive times of the year.
But then compromise isn’t really in Cheney’s vocabulary (and neither is transparency). Let’s see… Just over 200 days left on the Bush Countdown Calendar.