The Fish & Wildlife Service has had to reverse a ruling, after figuring out that the administration interfered. Not surprising to those of us who actually follow stuff like this, unfortunately.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday reversed seven rulings that denied endangered species increased protection, after an investigation found the actions were tainted by political pressure from a former senior Interior Department official.
In a letter to Rep. Nick Rahall, D-West Virginia., the agency acknowledged that the actions had been “inappropriately influenced” and that “revising the seven identified decisions is supported by scientific evidence and the proper legal standards.” The reversal affects the protection for species including the white-tailed prairie dog, the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse and the Canada lynx.
The rulings came under scrutiny last spring after an Interior Department inspector general concluded that agency scientists were being pressured to alter their findings on endangered species by Julie MacDonald, then a deputy assistant secretary overseeing the Fish and Wildlife Service.
MacDonald resigned her position last May.
Rahall in a statement said that MacDonald, who was a civil engineer, “should never have been allowed near the endangered species program.” He called MacDonald’s involvement in species protection cases over her three-year tenure as an example of “this administration’s penchant for torpedoing science.”
Read the whole thing. Looks like this is just the tip of the iceberg. (Which gets me to thinking: when all the icebergs have melted, what will we use for a metaphor?)