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What is this Board? April 7, 2006

Posted by gordonwatts in politics.
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There was a tiny post in the New York Times about the Department of Energy's Scientific Advisory board being shut down:

SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD IS ABOLISHED Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman has decided to abolish his department's Science Advisory Board, a panel of experts that has served energy secretaries since the Carter administration. The board includes scientists, business leaders and former government officials who assign thorny technical questions from the secretary to subcommittees that respond with detailed reports. A spokesman for Mr. Bodman confirmed the decision, first reported in the journal Nature, and said Mr. Bodman, a former chemical engineer, judged the board to be unnecessary after President Bush set the department agenda in his State of the Union address. MICHAEL JANOFSKY (NYT)

I don't know what it does or what roll it plays. A quick web search didn't show up anything either. The reason for shutting it down seems a bit ominous, however. Anyone know what this thing does (or did)?

Comments»

1. Benn Tannenbaum - April 8, 2006

It’s a science advisory board to the secretary, refered to as SEAB. They do studies on topics he requests… a recent one was on the future of the nuclear weapons complex and the reliable replacement warhead. Burt Richter served on it.

What I find most egregious is the statement Sec. Bodman made when disbanding the panel: “I’d rather get my advice from people who work for me.” He didn’t see any contradiction in that….

2. gordonwatts - April 9, 2006

Benn — thanks! Is there a place I can get a list of the questions it was asked to answer beside the nuclear weapons question you mention? From your description it sounds like the NAS — they get asked a policy question and a set of experts writes a report. I guess what I’m trying to understand is how important was the input from this panel to the Sec’t?

3. paula - April 9, 2006

“I’d rather get my advice from people who work for me.” Wow. That pretty much sums up the whole administration, doesn’t it?

4. Benn - April 11, 2006

Gordon– see http://thinkprogress.org/2006/04/10/bodman-science-board/ for some more details and links to other stories…..

This panel was important, because everyone needs to hear from people “outside the box” . It’s sort of like the fact that journals have referees before papers are accepted for publication. You want people who aren’t beholden to you, and who aren’t immersed in the day-to-day details of the place to give good feedback. But then again, this is the administration that disbanded the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Acvisory Committee, too….

5. gordonwatts - April 11, 2006

Thanks Ben!

6. ollis - June 22, 2006

this is high-class. http://www.amissouri.com


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