The Intersection

During the new Congress so far, we’ve seen multiple investigations related to the (mis)treatment of climate science by the Bush administration. These, I’m sure, will be ongoing. But as I’ve frequently said in public talks, perhaps the most pervasive abuses have occured on local endangered species issues, which have garnered less media coverage.

Now it’s time for the Democratic Congress to start digging around here as well.

A new report from the Interior Department’s inspector general, covered in the Times today, makes that clear. Substitute for Philip Cooney an Interior Department official named Julie MacDonald, and it’s basically the same story as it was with climate change: A political appointee, friendly with industry, overruling the determinations of agency scientists.

This is amusing:

The inspector general also found that Ms. MacDonald had sent internal government documents by e-mail to a lawyer for the Pacific Legal Foundation — a property-rights group that frequently challenges endangered-species decisions.

She twice sent internal Environmental Protection Agency documents — one involving water quality management — to individuals whose e-mail addresses ended in “,” the report said.

Let the investigations begin. Nicky Joe Rahall, who now chairs the Natural Resources Committee in the House, is apparently gonna take the lead….


  1. #1 Ex-drone
    March 29, 2007

    Be careful what you wish for. If the neo-cons become an endangered species at the next election, should they be protected?

  2. #2 Dark Tent
    March 29, 2007


    I was under the impression that was the Latin name of an endangered species of automobile from Texas.

  3. #3 Gerardo
    March 29, 2007

    An old college roommate of mine worked in the office of scientific authority at F&WS until recently. This guy has a PhD in population ecology. In 1999 he was promoted, to supervise the science associated with CITES species, to the Arlington headquarters. Imagine his surprise when 2004 he was reprimended for not following established protocols, and then again in 2005 for not following policy. He was further “taken out to the woodshed and spanked” for not being a “team player”. Instead of compromising his principles, he quit. Alternatively, that is not the case with many of the scientists left behind.

  4. #4 Paul
    March 29, 2007


    I’ve been following this issue. Please contact me by email.


  5. #5 Dark tent
    March 29, 2007


    You are correct. It’s the epitome of “survival of the un-fittest.”

    Those who are the least competent and least likely to rock the boat are most likely to survive.

    The most competent people — the ones who ask the questions and challenge the status quo — do not last long. They either resign because they can’t stand working under such conditions or are summarily dismissed (because they are a threat to the incompetents they answer to).

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