Bush Administration Boots Scientists Studying Missouri River

Just weeks before producing its final report on the ecosystem of the Missouri River, a team of government scientists was yanked off the job by the Bush administration. The scientists had been at work for years and had recommended, among other things, changes to the river’s flow to better mimic natural fluctuations and support more bird and fish species. That recommendation was echoed by the National Academy of Sciences but opposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Now, a new team of scientists has a month to decide whether the corps can avoid making those changes. Critics of the Bush administration’s decision say the last-minute change was designed to protect business interests at the expense of the Endangered Species Act. “In a month’s time, a group of people that knows nothing about the Missouri are supposed to write a credible biological opinion? Give me a break,” said Chad Smith, spokesperson for American Rivers, an environmental group.