USA: Bush appointee tampering with science on endangered species


This video from the USA is called Save the Verde River, part ONE.

From the Washinghton Post in the USA:

Report Faults Interior Appointee

Landowner Issues Trumped Animal Protections, IG Says

By Juliet Eilperin

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, March 30, 2007; Page A05

A senior Bush political appointee at the Interior Department has repeatedly altered scientific field reports to minimize protections for imperiled species and disclosed confidential information to private groups seeking to affect policy decisions, the department’s inspector general concluded.

The investigator’s report on Julie A. MacDonald, deputy assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks — which was triggered by an anonymous complaint from a Fish and Wildlife Service employee and expanded in October after a Washington Post article about MacDonald — said she frequently sought to reshape the agency’s scientific reports in an effort to ease the impact of agency decisions on private landowners. …

At one point, according to Fish and Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall, MacDonald tangled with field personnel over designating habitat for the endangered Southwestern willow flycatcher, a bird whose range is from Arizona to New Mexico and Southern California.

When scientists wrote that the bird had a “nesting range” of 2.1 miles, MacDonald told field personnel to change the number to 1.8 miles.

Hall, a wildlife biologist who told the IG he had had a “running battle” with MacDonald, said she did not want the range to extend to California because her husband had a family ranch there.

In another incident described in the report, MacDonald argued with Hall over the Kootenai River sturgeon, a fish in Montana and Idaho that needs a certain level of river flow in order to spawn.

Field biologists determined that the sturgeon’s needed flow level ranged between 2.3 and 5.9 cubic feet per second, but MacDonald instructed them to cite only the 5.9 figure, which would have aided dam operators.

After Hall demanded she put the request in writing, the report noted, “she ultimately relented and they kept the 2.3 to 5.9 range.” …

Kieran Suckling, policy director for the advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity, said the report documented MacDonald’s close relationship with industry.

“She has demoralized the entire U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by deriding its scientists, overruling its decision-makers, and showing complete disregard for professional channels of decision making,” Suckling said in an e-mail.

Update: here.

1 thought on “USA: Bush appointee tampering with science on endangered species

  1. Pingback: How endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatchers survive in California, USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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