When Good Science Is The Endangered Species

1. See Ed Kilgore, "Rove, the 'System Coach,' " at www.tpmcafe.com.

2. See Defenders of Wildlife, "Sabotaging the Endangered Species Act," December 3, 2003; available at www.defenders.org.

3. B. Mason, "Ecologists Attack Endangered Species Logjam," Nature 426, 6927 (December 11, 2003): 562.

4. Testimony of Craig Manson, assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, U.S. Department of the Interior, before the House Resources Committee, regarding H.R. 4840, June 19, 2002. Most recent proposed legislation includes H.R. 1662, "Sound Science for Endangered Species Planning Act of 2003." See also E. Buck, M. L. Corn, and P. Baldwin, "Endangered Species: Difficult Choices," CRS Issue Brief for Congress, Congressional Research Service, May 20, 2003.

5. Union of Concerned Scientists and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Survey Summary," February 2005; available at www.ucsusa.org.

6. Julie Cart, "U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings: More Than 200 Fish and Wildlife Researchers Cite Cases Where Conclusions Were Reversed to Weaken Protections and Favor Business, a Survey Finds," Los Angeles Times, February 10, 2005.

7. Letter from Rep. Henry Waxman and Rep. Nick Rahall to Gale Norton, secretary of the Department of the Interior, February 9, 2005; available at www .democrats.reform.house.gov.

8. Much of the cost analysis included money already spent in association with the ESA listing as well as on critical habitat protection for other listed species that occur in the same habitats identified for the bull trout, as noted in the Fish and Wildlife Service "Draft Economic Analysis of Critical Habitat Proposal for Bull Trout in the Columbia and Klamath River Basins Released for Public Comment," press release, April 5, 2004; see news.fws.gov.

9. See Friends of the Wild Swan v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 945 F. Supp 1388; 81 F. 3d 168; 12 F. Supp. 1121; 910 F. Supp 1500; 966 F. Supp. 1002.

10. FWS, "Draft Economic Analysis of Critical Habitat Proposal for Bull Trout."

11. The censored version of the report as released by FWS is available at pacific .fws.gov/.

12. The Endangered Species Act permits FWS to disregard scientific information in making critical habitat designation decisions under certain circumstances. Sec. 4(b)(2) of the ESA states: "The Secretary shall designate critical habitat, and make revisions therein, . . . on the basis of the best scientific data available and after taking into consideration the economic impact, and any other relevant impact, of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. The Secretary may exclude any area from critical habitat if he determines that the benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying such area as part of the critical habitat unless he determines, based on the best scientific and commercial data available, that the failure to designate such area as critical habitat will result in the extinction of the species concerned" (emphasis added).

13. As quoted in Sherry Devlin, "Economic Benefits of Recovery Omitted from Bull Trout Report," The Missoulian, April 16, 2005.

14. As quoted in Blaine Harden, "Report Condemned as One-Sided: Government

Cut out Benefits of Saving Threatened Trout," San Francisco Chronicle, April 17, 2004.

15. See U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "Clear Skies Act, 2003, Technical Support Package, Section B: Human Health and Environmental Benefits," February 2003; available at www.epa.gov. See also Harden, "Report Condemned as One-Sided."

16. An April 13, 2004, press release announced that the agency would conduct a five-year review of the bull trout listing (first listed in 1998). While this review process cannot derail the court-dictated decision on critical habitat designations, it could lead to change of classification or de-listing for the species, and puts the process to finalize recovery plans for bull trout populations on hold. See USFWS News Release, 4/13/04; available at http://news.fws.gov.

17. See Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), "Fish and Wildlife Director Overrules His Own Scientific Panel; Allows Continued Hunting of Rare Trumpeter Swans," press release, April 13, 2004; available at www.peer.org. The non-peer-reviewed report is James Dubovsky and John Cornely, "Trumpeter Swan Survey of the Rocky Mountain Population, U.S. Breeding Segment, Fall 2002," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Birds and State Programs, Mountain-Prairie Region Lakewood, CO, October 2003; available at www.grandjunctionfishand wildlife.fws.gov. The second report is R. S. Gale et al., "The History, Ecology and Management of the Rocky Mountain Population of Trumpeter Swans," unpublished report, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, Missoula, MT, 1987.

18. On August 25, 2000, the Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Fund for Animals, and others petitioned the USFWS to designate the tristate population a Distinct Population Segment and list it as threatened or endangered.

19. Dubovsky and Cornely, "Trumpeter Swan Survey, 2002."

20. See Gale et al., "History, Ecology and Management of the Rocky Mountain Population"; PEER, "Swan Dive: Trumpeter Swan Restoration Trumped by Politics," 2001; letter (with scientific citations) from Ruth Gale Shea, executive director, Trumpeter Swan Society, to Steve Williams, director, USFWS, March 23, 2003; available at www.trumpeterswansociety.org; PEER Data Quality Act Appeal to USFWS decision of previously submitted Data Quality Act Challenge, August 19, 2003; available at www.peer.org.

21. Author interview with Ruth Gale Shea, May 2004. See the 1987 report, Gale et al., "History, Ecology and Management of the Rocky Mountain Population."

22. See Ruth Shea, correspondence to Steven Williams, director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, March 7, 2003; available at www.trumpeterswansociety.org.

23. See "Complaint of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) Pursuant to the Data Quality Act of 2000," Data Quality Act Challenge to 90-Day Finding Relative to the Distinct Population Segment Status of Tri-state Population of Trumpeter Swans, May 28, 2003; available at www.peer.org.

24. Undated spring 2004 memo to FWS director Steve Williams, from Dan Ashe, Sue Haseltine, and Rick Bennet, appeal panel members, "Regarding the Public Em-

ployees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) appeal of USFWS pursuant to the Information Quality Act regarding the designation of the tri-state population of trumpeter swans as a distinct population segment"; released June 4, 2004; available at www.peer.org.

25. Steven Williams, correspondence to Eric Wingerter, PEER, March 26, 2004; available at www.peer.org/ForestService/fwswilliams_letter.pdf. In his verdict on the matter Williams states that the agency's dissemination of information, including the Dubovsky-Cornely paper, "met the agency's standard for objectivity" as required under the Data Quality Act.

26. Notably, until the review panel's assessment was released in June 2004 under a Freedom of Information Act request, Williams refused to make public the names of the review panelists or their finding.

27. See, for example, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, "Draft Florida Panther Landscape Conservation Strategy," South Florida Ecosystem Office, Vero Beach, Florida, 2002.

28. See Andrew J. Eller and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility v. Department of Interior, complaint pursuant to the Data Quality Act of 2000, May 4, 2004; available at www.peer.org.

29. Author interview with Andrew Eller, May 2004.

30. Eller-PEER complaint, May 4, 2004.

31. For review panel assessment, see P. Beier et al., "An Analysis of Scientific Literature Related to the Florida Panther, Final Report," Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tallahassee, Florida, 2003.

32. Eller interview, May 2004.

33. Eller interview, May 2004. See also Eller-PEER complaint, p. 14.

34. Author interview with Jane Comiskey, June 2004.

35. E.g., UCS-PEER, "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Survey Summary." In fact, respondents to that survey singled out Manson as a key politicizer of science within the agency. When asked what would be the best strategy to improve scientific integrity at the agency, for instance, one scientist wrote simply: "Reducing or eliminating interference from DOI political appointees (Craig Manson, etc.) and their special assistants (especially Julie MacDonald)."

36. See L. Quaid, "Bush Administration Yanks Missouri River Scientists off Project," Associated Press, November 5, 2003. The detailed National Academy of Sciences report, "The Missouri River Ecosystem: Exploring the Prospects for Recovery" (2002), is available at www.nap.edu.

37. See M. Grunwald, "Washed Away: Bush v. the Missouri River," The New Republic, October 27, 2003; available at www.tnr.com.

38. Craig Manson, memo to the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, October 29, 2003.

39. Personal communication with Chad Smith, director, Nebraska Field Office of American Rivers, and with a staff scientist at the Fish and Wildlife Service, name withheld on request, March 2004.

40. Grunwald, "Washed Away."

41. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, "2003 Amendment to the 2000 Biological Opinion on the Operation of the Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System, Operation and Maintenance of the Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project, and Operation of Kansas River Reservoir System," December 16, 2003; available at www.fws.gov.

42. All Army Corps documents are available at www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rec/ index.html.

43. As quoted in A. Griscom, "They Blinded Me with Pseudo Science: The Bush Administration Is Jettisoning Real Scientists in Favor of Yes Men," Salon.com, November 14, 2003.

44. As quoted in Amanda Griscom, "Craig's List: An Interview with Bush's Point Person on Species and Parks," Grist Magazine, April 15, 2004; available at www.grist .org.

45. See Kenneth Weiss, "Action to Protect Salmon Urged: Scientists Say Their Advice Was Dropped from a Report to the U.S. Fisheries Service," Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2004.

46. Author interview with Robert Paine, April 2004. The panel also included Ransom Myers of Dalhousie University; Russell Lande of UC San Diego; William Murdock of UC Santa Barbara; Frances James of Florida State University; and Simon Levin of Princeton University. For more about the panel, see www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/ trt/rsrp.htm.

47. As put forth in "Draft Hatchery Listing Policy," Federal Register 69, 107 (June 3, 2004); available at www.nwr.noaa.gov.

48. R. A. Myers et al., "Hatcheries and Endangered Salmon," Science 303, 5066 (March 26, 2004): 1980.

49. Author interview with Ransom Myers, April 2004.

50. See "Salmon Recovery Science Review Panel Report" for meeting held July 21-23, 2003, NMFS; available at www.nwfsc.noaa.gov.

51. Official statements from NOAA Fisheries claimed that the new policy was required by the 2001 coho salmon court decision. Although the NOAA interpretation of this court decision led to an across-the-board policy that hatchery fish be considered indistinguishable from wild fish in defining ESUs, other viable interpretations could lead to a policy of excluding all hatchery fish from ESU designation (as recommended by the scientific panel) or that hatcheries be closed or seriously modified to prevent deleterious effects on the protected ESUs; see, e.g., J. Lichatowich, Salmon without Rivers (Washington, DC: Island Press, 1999).

52. Timothy Egan, "Shift on Salmon Reignites Fight on Species Law," New York Times, May 9, 2004.

53. See, for example, Blaine Harden, "Hatchery Salmon to Count as Wildlife," Washington Post, April 29, 2004, and Egan, "Shift on Salmon."

54. Joe Rojas-Burke, "U.S. Backs Protecting Wild Runs of Salmon," Portland Oregonian, May 15, 2004.

55. See NOAA Fisheries' Response to the Alsea Valley Alliance v. Evans, U.S. District Court Ruling, May 28, 2004; available at www.nwr.noaa.gov.

56. J. Lichatowich, personal communication, June 2004.

57. The original twenty-six retain their listing and one new ESU is added. Proposed ESU Listing Determinations Federal Register Notice Language, May 28, 2004; available at www.nwr.noaa.gov.

58. Lichatowich communication, June 2004.

59. See Myers et al., "Hatcheries and Endangered Salmon."

60. As quoted in Weiss, "Action to Protect Salmon Urged."

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