Berkeley, CA -- A Florida-based U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service scientist who has publicly challenged his agency's reliance on flawed studies related to the habitat and population of the endangered Florida panther is appearing tomorrow in a scientific forum with Nobel laureate Dr. David Baltimore, President of the California Institute of Technology. The two are appearing together with other scientists to discuss political pressure being applied to government research at a scientific forum on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley.
Andrew Eller, Jr., of Vero Beach, is a 17-year FWS biologist who has spent the past ten years working in the Florida panther recovery program. During the past several months, he has charged that studies relied upon by FWS to make decisions about proposed development in Southwest Florida inflate panther population and inaccurately minimize habitat needs. In response, FWS is considering whether to terminate Eller.
Dr. David Baltimore, who has been the president of California Institute of Technology since 1997, is one of the world's most influential biologists. Awarded the Nobel Prize at the age of 37 for research in virology, Baltimore has profoundly influenced national science policy on such issues as recombinant DNA research and the AIDS epidemic.
In back-to-back presentations, Eller and Baltimore will be discussing the political pressure applied to government scientists, its impacts, and the need for key reforms that can prevent the manipulation, suppression, and alteration of public agency science.
"This forum is an opportunity for the scientific community to show solidarity with Andy Eller in his battle to expose official distortion of science," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, whose organization is leading Eller's defense.
Also appearing at the Berkeley forum with Eller are Kurt Gottfried, chair of the Union of Concerned Scientists Board of Directors and professor of physics, Cornell University, David Guston, Associate Professor of Public Policy at Rutgers and Director of the Center for Responsible Innovation and Bruce Buckeit, former director, EPA Air Enforcement Division.