OIG Report: A Snapshot into ESA and Science

Andy posted this link yesterday in our discussion of the lynx and how ESA works.. I thought it was fascinating as a glimpse into the agendas- scientific information- personality combinations and permutations involved in some of these decisions.

It’s also interesting that it was pointed out that Ms. Macdonald released “private information to public sources.” This seems to happen as a daily occurrence within the FS and EPA, at least. Sometimes employees use this tactics to promote their agendas on both sides. I like that this gives a glimpse into the real world of trying to base decisions on “science”.. your science or my sciences or the “best” science?

Another reason, as Bob Z. suggested, that all the scientific arguments used should be published with an opportunity for the public to review and comment.

Well worth a read and you can learn something about the ESA process.

I wonder if this is available somewhere as a text document so that we could quote from it.

If you read this, what was your impression?

1 thought on “OIG Report: A Snapshot into ESA and Science”

  1. I read it at the time. The federal government has swung back and forth on sharing the kind of deliberative information this involved. While it can be withheld under FOIA, sometimes the policy was to release it any way unless it would cause harm. Sharing deliberative information prior to a decision is less common than afterwards (though this should be more common in a collaborative process). The problem here was that it was disclosed only to selected parties (unethical appearance) and the purpose was to further private interests (prohibited by regulation). Here’s an example of a prohibited act from the relevant regulation:

    “Example 5: An employee of the Army Corps of Engineers is actively involved in the activities of an organization whose goals relate to protection of the environment. The employee may not, other than as permitted by agency procedures, give the organization or a newspaper reporter nonpublic information about long-range plans to build a particular dam.”

    This rule probably gets violated in small ways all the time (why was there no Ag-Learn training for this?!). This one was apparently too big at too high of a level to ignore.


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