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White House Eviscerates CDC Climate Testimony

White House Eviscerates CDC Climate Testimony

WASHINGTON – The White House severely edited congressional testimony given Tuesday by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the impact of climate change on health, removing specific scientific references to potential health risks, according to two sources familiar with the documents. Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Atlanta-based CDC, the government’s premier disease monitoring agency, told a Senate hearing that climate change “is anticipated to have a broad range of impacts on the health of Americans.”

But her prepared testimony was devoted entirely to the CDC’s preparation, with few details on what effects climate change could have on the spread of disease. Only during questioning did she describe some specific diseases that likely would be affected, again without elaboration. Her testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee had much less information on health risks than a much longer draft version Gerberding submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review in advance of her appearance.

“It was eviscerated,” said a CDC official, familiar with both versions, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the review process. The official said that while it is customary for testimony to be changed in a White House review, these changes were particularly “heavy-handed,” with the document cut from its original 14 pages to four. It was six pages as presented to the Senate committee.

How is it that U.S. government employees, particularly at the director level, aren’t permitted to give unedited testimony before Congress? Don’t the representatives of the people get to hear what the experts we hire have to say? How is it that things like public health and science aren’t considered important enough to escape the muzzle of the Bush administration?

How many days is it again to January 20, 2009?? This farce of an administration becomes more corrupt and disgraceful with each passing day.


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