The Oyster War: Part 3 — Scientific Misconduct

Over the past month, I posted on this blog a pair of short reviews of the new book The Oyster War by Summer Brennan, focusing on whether she told the true story in defending the government’s misrepresentations of science to support the ideological decision to remove the 80-year old oyster farm from Drakes Estero.

Three people have written posts trying to defend Brennan. One apparently was Brennan’s mother (whose points I addressed in my previous column). Another is a person calling himself “Adam Turner” (likely a pseudonym for a well-known anti-oyster farm advocate who has been in frequent contact with Brennan). In between his rants and name-calling, “Turner” also disputes my conclusion that the National Park Service falsified the findings of its own independent harbor seal expert, Dr. Brent Stewart. The third person is Brennan herself, who has now posted a lengthy blog accusing me of “libel,” and again defending the Park Service’s use of science. I’ll respond to “Turner” and Brennan here. This response, in turn, further shows that officials in the Department of the Interior committed scientific misconduct, and that Interior still needs to implement a meaningful scientific integrity policy.

In my review, I reported that the Park Service falsified the findings of its own harbor seal expert, Dr. Brent Stewart, by transforming his finding that there was “no evidence” that the oyster farm disturbed harbor seals into the false conclusion, in the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), that the farm was causing serious harm to harbor seals.

“Turner” defends the Park Service by asserting that Stewart did not work alone in analyzing the Park Service photos, but rather was part of a team. That is misleading. Stewart was contracted by Interior and was the sole author on a May 2012 Report, concluding that there was “no —> Read More