Follow-up

  Two federal judges are duking it out in Yellowstone’s snowmobile saga. Last December, Judge Emmet Sullivan struck down a National Park Service plan that would have allowed 1,100 snowmobiles daily into the park, and instead re-instated a ban on the machines (HCN, 1/19/04: Yellowstone snowmobilers suffer whiplash). But in early February, Judge Clarence Brimmer blocked that ban and gave snowmobilers free reign in the park. Now, Sullivan has fired back, scheduling a March 9 hearing in which Interior Department officials will have to explain why they violated his order.

Kennewick Man is scientific data, not a sacred ancestor, according to a panel of judges. When archaeologists found the 9,000-year-old skeleton in Washington in 1996, they dredged up a controversy that has pitted those who want to study the remains against Indian tribes, who want to rebury them (HCN, 1/20/03: Tug-of-war continues over ancient bones). In February, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the tribes can’t prove that Kennewick Man is an ancestor, and they don’t have the right to rebury the remains.

Twenty-eight years after Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash’s frozen body was found on the Pine Ridge reservation, a South Dakota jury has convicted one of her killers, Arlo Looking Cloud. The U.S. government is also trying to extradite a second suspect from Canada. Pictou-Aquash, a member of the American Indian Movement who stood alongside Leonard Peltier and Russell Means at the 1973 Battle at Wounded Knee, was beaten and killed in 1975. It’s still unknown if the two men, both former AIM members, acted on their own, or under orders from AIM leaders, who believed Pictou-Aquash was an FBI informant, an allegation her family and friends deny.

Who are you going to believe on issues of scientific integrity? A bunch of Nobel laureates, or an oilman who scored C’s in college? The Union of Concerned Scientists has released a report saying the Bush administration deliberately abuses science to advance its agendas in medicine, public health, the environment, agriculture and nuclear weapons (HCN, 6/23/03: Sound science goes sour). More than 60 leading scientists are asking regulators and lawmakers to "restore scientific integrity to federal policymaking."