Your Views: Manipulating environmental data has long-term implications

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Your Views: Manipulating environmental data has long-term implications
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To the editor:

During her time as mayor, Allison Silberberg made improving the city’s tree canopy a priority. Thousands of trees were planted, helping alleviate density’s destructive environmental effects.

Now, city hall myopically wants to compromise the tree canopy to reconfigure Taylor, Strawberry and Lucky Runs to obtain Chesapeake Bay environmental credits and free money in the form of Virginia DEQ matching grants.

City hall’s absurdly bureaucratic position fails to see the big picture of not only the immense short-term damage this will cause, but the much more subtle long-term impact of getting environmental credits by using a theoretical formula based on data from somewhere else, while ignoring actual data from the places affected.

Recall former Energy Secretary and Texas governor Rick Perry’s quip about scientists “manipulating large amounts of data to keep money flowing into their projects” as a put-down of global warming?

What more egregiously obvious example could climate deniers ask for of manipulating data to keep money flowing into projects than using clearly irrelevant data from rural Pennsylvania to apply to an urban stream, while ignoring actual data from samples a qualified technician has collected and had a reputable laboratory analyze, to justify millions of dollars of grant money to pay a contractor well connected into doing these sorts of projects?

The fossil fuel industry is quietly watching these developments because, as soon as they happen, their lobbyists and public relations agencies can spring into action. Once “scientific consensus” is equated in the public mind with “manipulating large amounts of data to keep money flowing into their projects,” persuading the public to go along with expensive, disruptive changes to address global warming becomes even more difficult than it already is.

What will city hall say then?

-Dino Drudi, Alexandria

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