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US Department of Interior Investigates Bush

Posted by nytexan on July 27, 2007

How many investigations can one administration have? I suppose if you’re Bush and Cheney and you completely ignore laws, you could technically be investigated every month. Well this time it’s the US Department of Interior going after them for the Endangered Species Act.

Mother Jones

  • Two government entities are investigating the Bush administration over the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Christian Science Monitor reports the US Interior Department is reviewing the scientific integrity of decisions made by a political appointee, Julie MacDonald, who recently resigned under fire. Fish and Wildlife Service employees complained that MacDonald bullied, insulted, and harassed the professional staff to alter their biological reporting. The inspector noted that although she has no formal educational background in biology, she nevertheless labored long and hard editing, commenting on, and reshaping the endangered species program’s scientific reports from the field. Last week Fish and Wildlife announced that eight decisions MacDonald made under the ESA would be examined for scientific and legal discrepancies.

Legal discrepancies seem to be the standard operating procedure for the Bush administration.

Bush has a habit of putting incompetent people to oversee and bully scientist. This is exactly what Bush did with the national weather scientist so global warming would be watered down.

  • Meanwhile Congress is investigating evidence that Vice President Dick Cheney interfered with decisions involving water in California and Oregon resulting in a mass kill of Klamath River salmon, including threatened species. As the CSM reports, both episodes illustrate the Bush administration’s resistance to the law. Earlier, the Washington Post ran the story of Cheney’s personal interference in the water decision that killed the salmon in 2002:
  • In Oregon, a battleground state that the Bush-Cheney ticket had lost by less than half of 1 percent, drought-stricken farmers and ranchers were about to be cut off from the irrigation water that kept their cropland and pastures green. Federal biologists said the Endangered Species Act left the government no choice: The survival of two imperiled species of fish was at stake. Law and science seemed to be on the side of the fish. Then the vice president stepped in. First Cheney looked for a way around the law, aides said. Next he set in motion a process to challenge the science protecting the fish, according to a former Oregon congressman who lobbied for the farmers. Because of Cheney’s intervention, the government reversed itself and let the water flow in time to save the 2002 growing season, declaring that there was no threat to the fish. What followed was the largest fish kill the West had ever seen, with tens of thousands of salmon rotting on the banks of the Klamath River.

Or, in the words of Bruce Barcott in MoJo’s piece, What’s A River For?:

  • On the morning of September 19, 2002, the Yurok fishermen who set their gill nets near the mouth of the Klamath River arrived to find the largest salmon run in years fully under way. The fish had returned from the ocean to the Klamath, on the Northern California coast, to begin their long trip upstream to spawn; there were thousands of them, as far as the eye could see. And they were dying. Full-grown 30-pounders lay beached on shore-line rocks. Smaller fish floated in midriver eddies. Day after day they kept washing up; by the third day, biologists were estimating that 33,000 fish had been killed [since revised upward to 70,000] in one of the largest salmon die-offs in U.S. history. The Yurok knew immediately what had happened. For months they, along with state experts and commercial fishermen, had been pleading with the federal government to stop diverting most of the river’s water into the potato and alfalfa fields of Oregon’s upper Klamath Basin. But the Bureau of Reclamation, the agency in charge of federal irrigation projects, refused to intervene.
  • The CSM reports the House Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a hearing next week to investigate political influence on agency science and decision making. As reported in the Blue Marblescientists are aware of the persistent unsciencing of their work. Thirty-eight prominent wildlife biologists and environmental ethics specialists recently signed a letter protesting a new Bush administration interpretation of the Endangered Species Act. They’re concerned for the future of animals such as wolves and grizzly bears. If Interior Department Solicitor David Bernhardt has his way, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will have to protect animals and plants only where they’re actually battling for survival, not where they’re in good shape. That means, for instance, that Bald Eagles would never have been protected decades ago since they were doing fine in Alaska, although practically extinct in the lower 48.
  • During Bush/Cheney, the listing of endangered and threatened species has slowed to a fraction the number the Bush senior made in only four years (58 new listings compared with 231), and most of those were court-ordered, according to the CSM. New funding has been cut as well, and only 278 candidate species are waiting to join the list of 1,352. Mother Jones’ recent piece, Gone, detailed why the presence of many kinds of life on earth is important to the survival of life itself. Seven of 10 biologists believe the sixth great extinction currently underway is a greater threat to life on earth than even global climate change.
  • It’s ephemerally comforting to think George W. Bush might go down in history as the worst of all U.S. presidents. More realistically, Dick Cheney will get the honor. . . Assuming there’s a history to come.

Disgraceful, this administration has managed to strip away every bit of progress we’ve made. It will take us decades to correct all the damage they have done in 6+ years.


5 Responses to “US Department of Interior Investigates Bush”

  1. opit said

    I thought on of the more brazen ideas was to restrict access to weather data collected at public expense so that it could be used as a ‘profit center’ for private broadcasters.

  2. I know this is Nancy Pelosi’s and Harry Reid’s idea of putting the screws to George Bush, with subpoenas, investigations, and hearings but it has very nearly nothing to do with carrying out the business of the American people. After all, that is what these do-nothing elites are tasked with when we send them to Washington.

    What would clear the slate and remove the cancer that is eating away at the body politic of America is impeachment. This singular act would remove the source of what is wrong and allow us as a nation to get back to ending the Iraq war, funding education and the NIH, paying down the debt and the deficit and restoring relationships with the rest of the world.

    Am I missing something?

  3. nytexan said

    Yeah your missing something..Congress & Bush live in a parallel universe which does not include us. Other than you you covered it.

    BTW:Voting for Hillary will not begin to fix the problems, she is more of the same.

  4. nytexan said

    They have controlled all science information to fit their screwed up ideas and promote their investment dollars.

  5. opit said

    I was rather nonplussed ( First time I’ve used that word ! ) when Sopan Green at Salon Esoterica came up with stuff on Global Warming being a sham : especially when the head honcho at the Smithsonian quit because of government misrepresentation of internationally accepted assessments in public displays.
    BGRS ( Global Citizen ) – that I have repeatedly cited -has been scathing about the current ‘scientific’ reporting to the public ( being a researcher and instructor that especially grates ). Even David Brin ( Contrary Brin ) has sounded off somewhat : and I don’t think of him as a hothead like Red.

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