“If you believe in a rational universe, in enlightenment, in knowledge and in a search for truth, this White House is an absolute disaster.” — Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, Princeton University
No matter how strong our nation’s environmental protections, our laws and regulations can be effective only if they are as protective as possible and are properly implemented and enforced. The Department of the Interior (DOI) and its sub-agencies, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&WS) continues to earn their criticism justifiably, by continuing to distort science to weaken regulations which ultimately serves their political objectives.
These agencies are currently rising to the top of noticeable attraction due to their overabundance of ignoring or manipulating science for political purposes. There does exist many other deceptive and politically driven government agencies, and ironically maintain their ability to avoid, or receive very little public scrutiny; none the less history is pervasive, and there exists a long trail of government deception and bad decision making based on bad science (a short list below).
“It’s hard to decide what is more demoralizing about the DOI’s politicization of the scientific process, its disdain for professional scientists working for our government or its willingness to deceive the American public.” — Roger Kennedy, former director of the National Park Service
Serving as examples, the Wild Horse and Burro Program and the Management of Wolves in America, demonstrate beyond any doubt a high rate of incompetent management principles, degraded ethics, and destruction of our wildlife and natural environment. Simply peruse either agencies management principles, rhetoric, and program outlines; then check closely the realty within our natural environment, or actual good and well referenced and complete scientific reports, and see for yourself the inconsistencies between these government agencies and reality. Yes, the two elements collide. Profound and aggressive — as if two warring and deadly enemies erupt into an explosive battle — the battle of Truth vs. Deception — Death the only outcome — our nation’s wildlife and environment loses! We lose!
“In my 30 years with the federal government, this is the worst administration I’ve seen for squashing science and rewriting it at will.” — Erick Campbell, retired biologist, Bureau of Land Management, PBS’s “NOW” show, July 22, 2005
Their favored tactics include misinterpreting information, ignoring scientific evidence, muzzling and even ignoring government scientists, leaving out pertinent data from species affecting the environment negatively (i.e. cattle in this case scenario), censoring government studies, removing independent experts from federal advisory panels or stacking those panels with industry consultants.
These tactics not only override basic environmental protections, and indeed favor specific industry, but enhance lobby groups in abundance. The fact is giving a power base to those who should not have that type of decision making ability what so ever, non-elected, non-educated, and do not have the taxpayer or general public interest in mind, or our support — ultimately undermines the authority of science itself, with direct implication of criminal activity as well. Often money is exchanged for this.
It’s no wonder Our government agencies mantra of “sound science” amounts to little more than a policy; whereby, decisions are based on whatever science sounds good to corporations or lobby groups, and the hell with the general public.
THE REALITY: This equates to Bad Science = Bad Decisions = Death to Wildlife / Death to America’s Environment!
Science: Inventory and Monitoring Programs
The goal of any inventory and monitoring program, yet totally ignored within the wild horse and wolf management paradigms today, is to truthfully determine the status and trends of selected species or ecosystems, or the real-time preference when combining the two.
Status studies, on the other hand, produce data on the condition of species or ecosystems for a single point in time; Trend studies, in contrast, provide a chronological or geographic picture of change within the same resource. Status studies and trend studies work hand in hand, the data becomes a quality resource for decision making — And only then does it become appropriate for decision making.
When not applied properly within the decision making process, or manipulated data developed as reality, then the ultimate and all telling future, of both animal and vegetation within our environment says it all.
Today America has problems within our environment. Current realities — elimination of wanted species; and sadly, unique or often unknown species near extinction, become extinct daily. The average extinction rate is in excess of 780 wildlife yearly; extinction of vegetation exceeds well over 1,000 yearly, with some years doubling in absolute extinction (numbers here averaged, as different studies reflect different numbers, so consider this data as minimal extinction rates).
“Obviously it’s of great concern if you’ve got people, a substantial percentage of the scientists who are, who were interviewed for that report saying that their ability to give their frank opinion is impeded because they feel that there’s political pressures on them. I think that we can only make good public policy if we have honest scientific advice and if it’s all going to be skewed we’ll wind up in the same mess that the Soviet Union used to find itself in, where basically if you didn’t agree with Stalin’s view of what the science ought to be they didn’t want to hear from you. We don’t need that in this country.” — U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (R-New Mexico) in response to a question about the White House’s alleged suppression of science, E&E TV’s “On Point” show, March 15, 2005
All of these are considerations directly involved with data gathering over a length of time, within a biosphere of ecological landscape and wildlife combined. The element or ability to see and record changes over specific lengths of time is important here, as changes and recording them generates proper data for research.
It is a fact that the longer the engagement of time, the better the data, the better the research, and the better the decision making process and resolution to improve habitats or the environment for wildlife. To restrain, or not include such items as cattle, as the Bureau of Land Management most often demands studies on Public Lands be done, this makes the research untrue, misinformed, and invalid at best. Nothing more than this.
“[There has been] a pattern of political interference with science. This pattern has involved gagging scientists, suppressing research, and rewriting reports to eliminate scientific answers that conflict with the administration’s political or ideological agenda.” — Rep. Henry Waxman, the ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee
With this in mind we can start to assimilate the negative or subjective attributes from government agencies, when one of their representative’s state they will assimilate data, or complete a study within a short time period. Then within the same context admit the study will develop a cost-worthy budget, which would develop into a final decision on a wildlife or environment issue, to extend over years, if not decades as well. Certainly, and even to the untrained eye, this becomes questionable both scientifically and ethically. As well, one would have to ponder the criminal aspect and follow the money trail to who, indeed, is acquiring profits on such undefined and bias endeavors. But is it, or will it be a valid scientific study? Absolutely not, never has been and never will be!
History defines our governments behavior quite well, and overwhelming virtues of vented interests and criminal behavior does exist. The Department of the Interior exhibits this, and well defined over many decades of scrutiny —
Definitive History and Facts (Reality)
Over the decades we can come to conclusive results which were brought about by misinformation, bad science and bad decisions made from it. This is not a complete list by any means, rather a list that shows diversity, methodology and the negative results that can be seen or reviewed today from these past actions.
When we actually see similar actions attempted today, within our government agencies, we can reference their previous actions and the negative results, as a complete explanation and reference. Yes, Advocates base findings on well established reference material, and those results from those references within our environment. There is no doubt our natural environment of today is paying for the bad and manipulated science, and those bad decisions placed into action. It is evident today, as well, that the listed situations below indeed destroyed much of our wildlife and environment, as previewed and seen today!
NOTE: Time proves tampering with science becomes negative to our environment and wildlife. Those same results devastating, even to the point of extinction, of several specifies, classified on the Endangered Species List and ignored, or recently discovered with attempts to place on the ESL — some wildlife wiped-out before doing so, never to be seen again. Similar situations exist today, and as history notes, similar results will follow. Keep in mind this is a very short-list, categorical, showing government agencies corrupt and often criminal behavior in the destruction of our environment and wildlife.
1. BLM approves construction of 50,000 new natural gas wells in southeastern Montana and northeastern Wyoming, despite the threat to national parks and local air quality. Wild Horse Herds and HMA’s liquidated from this Bad Science (manipulated data) – Bad Decisions criteria.
2. A report by the National Academy of Science, ordered by the DOI and administration, concludes that it is safe for people to drink water with as much as 20 parts per billion of perchlorate –- that level is 20 times the standard recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency two years ago.
3. Evidence surfaces that Bush administration quietly changed rules, allowing oil companies to skip environmental requirements when drilling in National Parks.
4. Former BLM employee sues the bureau for wrongfully firing him when he refused to comply with orders to downplay toxic and radioactive dangers at a Nevada copper mine.
5. BLM overestimates the potential amount of natural gas underneath Colorado’s Roan Plateau, stating that the gas reserves could power the country for nine months. A USGS report concludes that the tapped gas supplies could actually power the country for only 6 days.
6. EPA experts accuse Bush administration of altering science on poor air quality over National Parks.
7. Mine Safety and Health Administration demotes and relocates a top official for accusing the agency of covering up facts during the investigation of a massive coal slurry spill in West Virginia.
8. Bush administration deletes key information in letter urging the United Nations to remove Yellowstone from a list of endangered World Heritage Sites.
9. Bush administration claims that environmental laws restrict energy development in the West despite government findings that the vast majority of public lands are open for oil and gas drilling.
10. Interior Department claims that polar bears can be adequately protected from oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge despite government studies showing the opposite to be true.
11. Bush administration grants a Kentucky coal company a reprieve from obeying federal law, allowing mining to continue without a permit (eventual cave-in and 18 minors killed).
12. Hundreds of government wildlife scientists report political pressure, scientific distortion.
13. Court records reveal that a Bush administration political appointee in the Interior Department conspired with industry lobbyists to support the California Farm Bureau’s lawsuit against her own agency. After a series of emails and telephone calls Deputy Assistant Interior Secretary Julie MacDonald tried to scuttle scientific recommendations that favored protecting endangered fish and wildlife habitat by limiting the amount of water diverted for irrigation. Although, administrators have changed, the same people within upper management still exists.
14. NOAA orders federal biologists to rewrite a report that had concluded harmful effects on endangered salmon from a federal plan to divert millions of gallons of water from rivers in Northern California to the southern part of the state.
15. USFWS fires Florida scientist who publicly criticized the agency for using faulty science when approving eight development projects in the critical habitat of the endangered Florida panther.
16. Government biologist resigns after accusing the Bush administration of politicizing science, and illegally disregarding his advice leading to the massive fish kill in the Klamath River.
17. Evidence surfaces that USFWS employed false data to conclude that the Florida panther’s survival is not in jeopardy — when in fact the panther population is severely dwindling.
18. Federal officials deleted information used in a cost-benefit analysis of its recovery of the endangered bull trout, falsely concluding that protecting the species would cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
19. Bush administration admits to hiding three reports regarding Klamath River policies, which suggest that protecting water levels would benefit both wildlife and the economy through recreation. However, the administration later chooses to divert water for agriculture, leading to a massive fish kill.
20. NMFS whistleblower accuses the Bush administration of forcing his agency to violate the Endangered Species Act by overruling concerns that diverting water from the Klamath River for irrigation would harm fish. Subsequently, a massive fish kill resulted that later was linked to the administration’s decision.
21. Industry lobbyists convince the Mineral Management Service to weaken sperm whale protections, which they complained hindered the oil and gas industry.
22. Interior Department abruptly reverses its decision that drilling in the Arctic Refuge would harm polar bears.
23. Top Bush administration political appointee at Interior reverses earlier findings that air pollution from a proposed coal power plant in Kentucky would significantly hamper visibility at the nearby MammothCaveNational Park.
24. EPA records reveal, for the third time, that the agency’s proposal for regulating mercury pollution from power plants copied passages — in some cases word for word — from memos written by a law firm representing the utility industry. It just so happens that the head of EPA’s air program and his chief counsel were both partners at the firm before President Bush installed them at the agency.
“I am convinced that I would have been again asked to change my conclusions, or that the biological opinion would be re-written by someone else based on a less rigorous examination of the scientific evidence and without an appropriate level of caution. … Properly conducted, objective science always describes the amount of uncertainty present in a conclusion. However, it appears that this agency, and others under the current administration, routinely abuse the science by giving inappropriately high significance to very small amounts of scientific uncertainty, if that uncertainty supports a desired outcome. Not only does this lack of caution and misuse of science adversely impact natural resources, it misleads the American public about how science and the scientific method work.” — from Mike Kelly’s resignation letter, May 18, 2004
It is time to put an end to our government’s criminal behavior, and place as priority truthfulness and good science in order to make good scientific decisions. The benefits to taxpayers and the general public alike abound in doing so, and would prove beneficial to both taxpayers money and to America in general.
Right now taxpayers and American’s receive no benefits from Our Public Lands, other than pay for irresponsible and often ignorant conduct by our government agency employees, constantly!
Things have to change in our government! It is simply time to do so!
June 1, 2013 at 5:39 pm
This is a reader comment to a 2009 article in a Nevada magazine;
In 2001, BLM launched one of the most aggressive removal campaigns ever initiated taking over 75,000 wild horses and burros to date. Despite massive and repeated removals (many herds across the West have been rounded up annually or bi-annually since this began), BLM continues to report over the last few years, the same number of wild horses and burros are still remaining on the range! Yet analyzing the Wild Horse & Burro Programs own removal statistics since this began and the 20% reproduction rate they themselves apply, this is impossible! While BLM reported in February 2008 that 33k wild horses and burros STILL remained on the range, their own statistics independently analyzed revealed only 13,500 to 16,800 were really left! Furthermore, reviewing BLMs reported populations between 2004-2008, 38 different herds were found with highly inflated populations that jumped massively from one year to the next, some by as high as 500%! Just between 2007 and 2008, 24 herds were found with glaring discrepancies, such as the Wilson Creek HMA in Nevada where BLM removed hundreds of wild horses last February and reported only 130 were left; yet one year later, the number jumped to 386 and another round up is now on the horizon. In order to cover up the glaring discrepancies their own statistics reveal, BLM has recently begun claiming the aerial census methods used to count wild populations over the last 4 decades is so inaccurate and flawed that collectively, it accounts for the thousands of “missing animals” that comprise the difference between their own population reports for several years that concludes what IS really out on the range versus what they claim is still out on the range as their own data fails to support those claimes! The evidence suggests BLM has manufactured the current crisis by removing thousands more wild horses and burros than they needed too and their statistics support the fact that BLM achieved their own national population target, pitifully low as it may be, over two years ago. Yet the round ups continue…So what if BLM is right, that there were tens of thousands of wild horses and burros they were “missing” in their aerial census counts and during the repeated round ups? The law requires that BLM determine just what is “excessive” by MONITORING THE RANGE and what the wild horses and burros are actually consuming! So wouldn’t that suggest that BLM wasn’t monitoring squat or that, not only were their census methods highly inaccurate, so are the methods used to determine what wild horses and burros are really eating, as BLM is now trying to suggest thousands more than they were aware of were “consuming resources” but remained unaccounted for? Then how valid is their population levels that determine what is “excessive”? Doesn’t this imply BLM has just been pulling numbers out of a hat to determine how many wild horses and burros can exist in “balance” with other rangeland users? Since 2000, Dave Cattoor made over $12 million dollars rounding up our herds and he has had an almost exclusive contract with BLM since the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act passed in 1971. Think he has a vested interest in backing BLMs claims of “overpopulation”? And what about that continuous, unchallenged drum of overpopulation? Can they be overpopulated? Sure! But are they? Just within CO, UT, ID, MO, and WY, 2007 elk populations were estimated between 675,000-700,000 while BLMs target wild horse population is about 5,500 for the same areas. In fact, the GAP in elk estimates is larger than BLMs entire national allowable management level for ALL wild horses! Bighorn sheep, the “native” wildlife burros continue to be erradicated for, numbered 70k last year; BLMs burro population targets; now under 3k. Overpopulation? In 2008, 96.7 million head of cattle alone were reported by the USDA nationwide. Just BLM (versus other agencies) authorize livestock grazing on 160 million acres and in 2007, BLM reported 6.8 million AUMs of forage was actually used exclusively by livestock though 11.1 million AUMs were potentially available. Wild horse and burros are only allowed on 34.5 million acres (though in August 2008, the BLM officially removed 1.6 million MORE acres from wild horse and burro habitat so this needs to be revised) and only 309k AUMs are allowed for their consumption, less than 3% of the available forage. Often, water sources are fenced with no water piped outside; read BLMs Resource Management Plan for Nellis-they failed to even include how many water sources were even IN Nellis but set a “new” population based on “water sources” that were never fully identified. They were also very clear that many they DID report on had been fenced off completely from wild horse use. While wildlife and livestock are allowed “alternative” water sources, not so for wild horses and burros. Apparently, BLM believes it is more cost effective to water them in long term holding facilities and issue quarterly checks to the facilities versus investing in long term reliable water sources on the range to compensate for the afore mentioned development, urbanization, habitat fragmentation and underground aquifer pilfering. The population objectives BLM has set over the years, known as AML (allowable management level) are riddled with ancient and incomplete data, unsupported statements, missing reports, and in some known instances, flat out lies! In the High Rock HMA in CA, BLM set the wild horse population number based on water sources for 6 springs though there were 20 in the area. They also claimed one spring was severely damaged due to “overpopulation” but 7 years later(yes, it took 7 years before the truth was published!), another BLM document unrelated to wild horse management reported this same spring was in excellent condition and had been long before BLM did their “wild horse analysis.” Why was it in excellent condition? Because it had been fenced off way before BLM set the “new” wild horse AML. Before the public swallows the story being peddled, this can of worms needs to be opened and thoroughly reviewed by a full scale Congressional investigation and the legal loopholes BLM has been using to manage our herds to death needs to be closed once and for all! Failure to do so NOW will result in the needless spilling of thousands of American Mustangs and Burros blood; BLM’s “management” of our remaining herds and their ever dwindling habitat must be addressed and accountability demanded! There is a reason wild horse advocates continue to cry out, “They are being managed to extinction!”
These statistics, and many more, are available at:
July 2, 2013 at 11:02 am
More awesome and truthful information.