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United States Government Politics Science

Wildlife Deputy Changed Science For Lobbyists 174

Posted by Zonk
from the five-bucks-says-it-was-world-of-warcraft dept.
fistfullast33l writes "In another case of a government official creating a 'unique' interpretation of science, TPM Muckraker reports on Julie MacDonald, deputy assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks in the Department of the Interior in Washington. The Department's Inspector General issued a report today documenting evidence that MacDonald not only overrode opinions of department scientists to benefit lobbyists, and political interests, but also that she shared internal documents with said lobbyists and a friend in an unnamed online roleplaying game. My favorite episode: 'At one point, according to Fish and Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall, MacDonald tangled with field personnel over designating habitat for the endangered Southwestern willow flycatcher, a bird whose range is from Arizona to New Mexico and Southern California. When scientists wrote that the bird had a nesting range of 2.1 miles, MacDonald told field personnel to change the number to 1.8 miles. Hall, a wildlife biologist who told the IG he had had a running battle with MacDonald, said she did not want the range to extend to California because her husband had a family ranch there.'"
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Wildlife Deputy Changed Science For Lobbyists

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  • Recommended Reading (Score:5, Informative)

    by Raul654 (453029) on Friday March 30, 2007 @10:22PM (#18552349) Homepage
    Suggested reading for everyone: The Republican War on Science [wikipedia.org] by Chris Mooney [wikipedia.org]. Chapter 11 (documenting the ID movement) is available online, but the site is not responding (quite possibly something to do with this story breaking).

  • MMOG? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    After reading and re-reading all 3 linked articles, I see no specific or generic reference to an MMOG. Am I blind (if so, I blame it on MMOG-induced sleep deprivation)? Is the article summary just making that part up? Or is there another article that wasn't linked? Inquiring minds want to know.
  • by Headw1nd (829599) on Friday March 30, 2007 @10:37PM (#18552435)

    "Ms. MacDonald, if you read the report you will see that the white-tailed prairie dog is clearly in need of protec-"

    "NO!! I NEED TEN MORE HIDES TO COMPLETE MY CLOAK!!"

  • Like all endangered species, their [the yellow whatever] extension can be directly attributed to the rise of mankind. Even the brontosaurus was driven away because of small ground dwelling mammals. Let's just say from this point forward it's our fault. Darwin would never say "Survival of the fittest"
  • by edwardpickman (965122) on Friday March 30, 2007 @11:01PM (#18552571)
    We need to legalize the culling of lobbyist. If they can cull baby seals and alligators the culling of lobbyist is long overdue. Their explosive breeding is threatening the Washington political ecosystem. Tag and release is no longer a viable option. The overpopulation is similar to the Australian rabbit plagues only far more destructive.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dunbal (464142)
      We need to legalize the culling of lobbyist. If they can cull baby seals and alligators the culling of lobbyist is long overdue.

            I guess we could always lobby for it. Oh wait - uh, you first!
    • Ya hunt bears during bear season, deer during deer season, tourists during tourist season... so when is politics season? Seems to be all year around, as far as I can see. That's fine: ammo is still cheap.
  • You put politicians in charge of science, and then you are shocked to find out that the science is corrupted by politics?

    There needs to be a strict seperation between science and the state, the same way there is (or at least is supposed to be) as strict seperation between the church and the state!

    If you insist that the government should fund and control science... the price that you pay is that science will become first and foremost a tool to promote political ideology and policy. That is inevitable. That i
  • should this Julie MacDonald be thrown in jail for doing the opposite of her job?
  • "The report also said MacDonald "misused her position" by disclosing confidential documents to "private sector sources" such as the Pacific Legal Foundation and the California Farm Bureau Federation, both of which have challenged endangered-species listings."

    Government regulatory agencies should work with private industry. I agree that scientific research should not be altered, but I don't see why it was wrong for her to disclose a draft report to the private sector. I can understand why law enforcement a
    • but I don't see why it was wrong for her to disclose a draft report to the private sector

      If she'd simply made the draft public that would be fine, but that's not what she is accused of doing. She'd accused of leaking the information to a select handful of organizations. Other organizations and the public were not informed until the final report was issued. Under the equal protection clause the governement is not allowed to play favorites like that.
      • I don't think this is a correct interpretation of the equal protection clause. The fourteenth amendment states that "no state shall... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws". It would only be fair to say that she was "playing favorites" if she was protecting some people from the endangered species act, while denying that protection to others. But I fail to see how giving out a draft report offers protection. Moreover, it seems that he helped anyone who appealed to h
        • But I fail to see how giving out a draft report offers protection

          Because it offered them the chance to get their legal challenges rolling before the information was disemenated to the wider public.

          Moreover, it seems that he helped anyone who appealed to her for help (this is what regulatory agencies should do), not just certain people.

          But helping certain people and not others was is exactly what she's accused of doing. From the Washington Post [washingtonpost.com] article:

          MacDonald acknowledged to Devaney that the policy

  • I'd just like to remind people that there are social conservatives for whom the current Republican party does not speak.

    There's nothing about social conservatism AT ALL that suggests:

    - It's OK for corporations to be more important than individual citizens.

    - It's OK to go to war because you want to set an example (or any other
    aspect of realpolitik thinking, either.)

    - That it's sane to ignore environmental or social issues because addressing them
    might possibly have a 4% impact on

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