Newt Gingrich, claiming a mandate to make government smaller, actually managed to abolish only two offices: the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA).

The OTA was a widely praised, nonpartisan board that helped Congress understand and deal with technical issues — exactly the kind of office you don’t need if you get your understanding of biology from Genesis, your thoughts on telecommunications from K Street, and your opinions on energy from Exxon. The OTA was probably one of the least-known but best performing offices in all of D.C.

Oddly, Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan just killed the Michigan Environmental Science Board, which was composed of volunteer scientists appointed by the Governor. The only cost to the state was for member travel when on assignment, and for preparation and distribution of reports.

Here are the reports prepared by the MESB over the years:

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  • (2007) Executive Order 2007-21
  • (2003) Critical Review of a Proposed List of Toxic Substances to Biomonitor in Michigan Residents
  • (2002) Critical Review of a Ballast Water Biocides Treatment Demonstration Project Using Copper and Sodium Hypochlorite
  • (2001) Recommended Environmental Indicators Program for the State of Michigan
  • (2001) Evaluation of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Generic Groundwater and Soil Volitization to Indoor Air Inhalation Criteria
  • (2000) Health Effects of Low-Level Hydrogen Sulfide in Ambient Air
  • (2000) Analysis of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Administered Environmental Standards to Protect Children’s Health
  • (1999) Evaluation of the Use of Sonar® in Michigan
  • (1999) Evaluation of the Risk of Cancer among Fire Fighters
  • (1998) Evaluation of Michigan’s Proposed 1998 Fish Advisory Program
  • (1997) Evaluation of Directional Drilling under the Great Lakes
  • (1997) Evaluation of Air Quality and Human Health Issues involving Particulate Matter and Ozone
  • (1997) Impact of New PCB Information on 1995 MESB — Council of Great Lakes Governors Special Fish Advisory Report
  • (1996) Evaluation of Michigan’s Low-Level Radioactive Waste Isolation Facility Siting Criteria
  • (1995) Critical Review of a Proposed Uniform Great Lakes Fish Advisory Protocol
  • (1995) The Impacts of Lead in Michigan
  • (1994) Report on Bacteriological and Macrophyte Contamination of Lake St. Clair
  • (1994) Impacts of Chlorine Use on Environmental and Public Health
  • (1993) Mercury in Michigan’s Environment: Environmental and Human Health Concerns PDF icon