That’s according to a first-rate story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The lede:
The Bush administration is ordering federal wildlife officials headed for international meetings on polar bears not to talk about how climate change and melting ice are affecting the imperiled animals.
The ever-reliable Andy Revkin of the NYTimes is also on the case. His lede:
Internal memorandums circulated in the Alaskan division of the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service appear to require government biologists or other employees traveling in countries around the Arctic not to discuss climate change, polar bears or sea ice if they are not designated to do so.
His newspaper was tipped off by a former Interior Department official (under the Clinton administration) who described the memos as a "Soviet-style directive." Lovely.
Or you can listen to Kiernan Suckling, the spokesperson for the trouble-making Center for Biological Diversity, which sued the US government in late 2005 to protect the polar bears’ habitat:
The polar bear has created a 24/7 forum for the U.S. government to be grilled about what its position is on global warming, and it’s really put the Bush administration in a tight, tight corner. It’s crazy to say, ‘The polar bear is endangered but we’re not going to do anything about global warming.
The CBD first contacted the Seattle newspaper’s enviro blog (Dateline Earth) about the muzzling. So maybe they should get the credit for breaking the story? Or Suckling? Not sure, but this much we know–the Bush administration is playing the role of the dim-witted heavy, yet again.
[Hat Tip: Environmental Journalism Now]