PCTC writes that among other concerns, the article “represents yet another breach in USGS Guidelines, especially when it comes at the expense of ignoring contrary scientific research, thereby misleading the public into thinking that there is a consensus on this issue within the scientific community when there clearly is not.”
The PCTC petition points out that by ignoring and not citing related peer-reviewed research on the coal tar sealer topic, particularly research the contradicts USGS claims, the USGS violates its own mandate which requires “impartiality and non-advocacy.”
“It goes without saying,” the letter continues, “that a refusal to acknowledge or cite peer-reviewed articles that take a position contrary to the USGS’ own research is a form of advocacy that clearly lacks objectivity.”
PCTC writes that another way to determine “if any bias or advocacy exists in USGS” on RFT issues is for USGS to produce all data and correspondence related to the RFT issue. PCTC points out that USGS has responded selectively to the 2011 FOIA request, “withholding, at least up to now, certain correspondence and e-mail between the USGS staff and other individuals outside the agency who have made it their goal to ban coal tar sealants across the country.”
“These efforts by the USGS to withhold certain documents are not only at odds with [USGS] policies, but also are contrary to the need for transparency that is emphasized throughout the USGS Guidelines.”
Following specific examples of purported USGS bias, PCTC asks that USGS remove the “Coal Tar Sealant Largest Source of PAHs in Lakes” article and related press release from its NAWQA website.
“Any failure to do so will adversely affect those members of the PCTC who distribute or apply coal tar sealants since consumers and legislators who are asked to consider the merits of proposed sealant bans are being misled by unproven hypotheses and flawed ‘conclusions’ offered by the USGS in these website publications.”
PCTC adds that at the very least USGS should include citations to peer-reviewed articles and publications that have “respectfully and scientifically challenged the findings” of the USGS “coal tar sealant” articles.
“An alternative solution is to delete the website altogether so the public does not mistakenly believe that it reflects an impartial and complete collection of all relevant scientific literature regarding coal tar sealcoating. Clearly the USGS website has failed in that regard.”
Letter to the Editor
WSA Focuses on Sweeping Education
PAVEMENT magazine has long been a leader at providing sound information for those throughout the sweeping and related industries. However, I must take exception with what I read in your recent NAPSA column (page 47, May issue). The article starts out "Did you know that NAPSA is the only trade organization for the power sweeping industry?"
The fact is, NAPSA is most decidedly NOT the only trade association for power sweeping. The World Sweeping Association (WSA), founded as an affiliate of WorldSweeper.com, began operations on January 1st of this year. Although it already offers a number of other benefits, one of WSA's primary goals is to provide a true educational association for the power sweeping industry. To that end, WSA offers its members exclusive access to over 250 articles and 70 audio podcasts, which were produced and tailored just for power sweeping contractors. We have also spearheaded efforts to investigate and report on the many 'third party vendors' now becoming prevalent throughout the exterior maintenance industry. As a result, WSA members now can see ratings, average length of payments and ongoing comments on 23 such vendors that operate across the U.S.
WSA offers many other membership benefits, including bi-weekly member updates, 15% off on Schwarze Supervac parts and 20% off on Victory Sweepers' parts. WSA has also founded the first-ever sweeping industry scholarship program, which will provide tuition assistance this year to several worthy students whose parents are employees of sweeping companies.