Friday, July 20, 2007

Supressing Science

U.S. Agency May Reverse 8 Decisions on Wildlife

Published: July 21, 2007

WASHINGTON, July 20 — The Interior Department said Friday that it would review and probably overturn eight decisions on wildlife and land-use issues made by a senior political appointee who has been found to have improperly favored industry and landowners over agency scientists.

The appointee, Julie A. MacDonald, resigned on May 1 as a deputy assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks, after an internal review found that she had violated federal rules by giving government documents to lobbyists for industry. The agency’s inspector general also found several instances in which Ms. MacDonald browbeat department biologists and habitat specialists and overruled their recommendations to protect a variety of rare and threatened species.

H. Dale Hall, the director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, said he had asked the agency’s regional managers to submit for review cases in which Ms. MacDonald might have inappropriately bent the process to fit her political agenda. Mr. Hall winnowed the list to eight instances in which he said he expected that her actions would be reversed...

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