Blinded by Science

The Bush Administration is:

A senior Bush political appointee at the Interior Department has rejected staff scientists’ recommendations to protect imperiled animals and plants under the Endangered Species Act at least six times in the past three years, documents show.

In addition, staff complaints that their scientific findings were frequently overruled or disparaged at the behest of landowners or industry have led the agency’s inspector general to look into the role of Julie MacDonald, who has been deputy assistant secretary of the interior for fish and wildlife and parks since 2004, in decisions on protecting endangered species.

The documents show that MacDonald has repeatedly refused to go along with staff reports concluding that species such as the white-tailed prairie dog and the Gunnison sage grouse are at risk of extinction. Career officials and scientists urged the department to identify the species as either threatened or endangered.

Most administrations would be given the benefit of the doubt about decisions like this- but not these hacks. They have earned out skepticism when it comes to scientific matters.






11 replies
  1. 1
    Punchy says:

    Julie “Ronald” MacDonald, trained as a civil engineer….making crucial decisions on biological and botanical measures…

    I swear to God, it’s only a matter of time until the head of NASA is the former poet laurate of Nebraska, the deputy director of DHS has a background in teaching swimming lessons, and the head of FEMA has as his experience Arabian horses…

    Wait a minute…

  2. 2
    capelza says:

    Punchy…but they did all stay at Holiday Inn Express!

  3. 3
    Pb says:

    The documents show that MacDonald has repeatedly refused to go along with staff reports concluding that species such as the white-tailed prairie dog and the Gunnison sage grouse are at risk of extinction. Career officials and scientists urged the department to identify the species as either threatened or endangered.

    Another endangered group that should be on that list — competent, nonpartisan Bush appointees, unlike Julie MacDonald.

  4. 4
    jcricket says:

    “Good heavens Miss Cheney – you’re beautiful!”

    And I mean that in a completely patriotic, non-lesbian fashion.

  5. 5
    Jay C says:

    Just out of curiousity: anyone know if there is any reason why the white-tailed prairie dog or the Gunnison sage grouse shouldn’t be considered as “endangered”? I mean, does the G.s.g. only nest on the one lot where Wal-Mart wants to build some mega-warehouse? Does the w-t.p.d. dig its little tunnels only on the site of some Congressman’s future Interstate-interchange? Or is it just standard Republican policy to simply reject anything that might even remotely smell like actual environmental “science” lest somebody catch Teh Liberal and run off to hug trees and spike bulldozers – or is it hug bulldozers and spike trees?

  6. 6
    craigie says:

    How much longer until the GOP is endangered?

  7. 7
    AustinRoth says:

    This is what happens when you look at facts out of context. This may indeed be an issue of malfeasance, it may not. Without knowing how many recommendations to place animals or plants in the list across that six year period, it is hard to say.

    If the number is 10, then there is a problem. If the number is more like 100, then I cannot get worked up over this. As an absolute, 6 over 3 years (once every six months) that a recommendation is rejected doesn’t necessarily seem excessive.

    After all, what the scientists are providing are indeed called ‘recommendations’, not ‘mandates’.

  8. 8
    Bombadil says:

    They have earned out skepticism when it comes to scientific matters.

    “Skepticism”? Try “contempt”.

  9. 9
    Ryan S. says:

    A must read on this topic. It also answers AustinRoth’s question.

  10. 10
    Sherard says:

    Sorry, bub, but Penn and Teller succinctly showed the Endangered Species Act to be a 100% complete and utter failure. It has never saved anything from extinction.

    In my book, anyone that ignores the ESA and uses common sense instead, is using their brain and nothing more.

  11. 11
    coyote says:

    Thanks, Sherard, for sharing the opinion of those two noted scientists. Could you provide a link to their peer-reviewed work?

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