GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Accusing the Bush administration of manipulating science for political ends, a congressman is calling for an investigation into why federal funding was suspended for a study that did not support White House calls for more logging after wildfires.
Representative Jay Inslee, Democrat of Washington, asked the Interior Department's inspector general to examine whether the US Bureau of Land Management was punishing researchers from Oregon State University for their findings.
''It's very apparent to most neutral observers that under this administration in a variety of ways that the scientific process has been corrupted by political influence," Inslee said Tuesday. ''It goes back to Galileo being punished for his views."
The Bush administration has argued that logging a national forest after a blaze can clear debris and reduce the risk of further wildfires. But the OSU study found that salvage logging killed seedlings and increased, in the short term, the amount of fuel on the ground to feed more fires.
The three-year study, published last month in the journal Science, was embraced by environmentalists fighting an administration-backed bill to speed salvage logging in national forests after wildfires.
Chris Strebig, a spokesman for the Oregon office of the Bureau of Land Management, said the decision to suspend funding was based on whether researchers had followed the terms of their contract, and that the decision was made in the Oregon office.
The bureau said the study may have violated provisions of the $307,000 research grant that prohibit the use of any of the funds to lobby Congress and require that a Bureau of Land Management scientist be consulted before the research is published.
Donald Kennedy, editor in chief of Science, said editors at the journal were responsible for including a reference to pending legislation in material posted online, and that the researchers had asked them to remove it.