October 23, 2019

House Committee Wants Answers to Why BLM Hire, Covers-up and Perpetuates Hiring of Sex Perverts and Convicted Criminals

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 2, 2017 – TO: Acting Secretary Haugrud

FROM: Chairman Rob Bishop

Dear Acting Secretary Haugrud:

Over the past several years, many disturbing cases concerning Department of the Interior (Department) employees misconduct have cast doubts on effectiveness of the Department’s hiring, retention, and termination policies. The Department employs “about 70,000 people in approximately 2,400 locations.” As federal employees, these individuals should be held to the highest ethical and professional standards. From April 1, 2009 through September 30, 2016, the Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) referred 310 criminal matters involving Department employees to the Department of Justice for prosecution, which resulted in 209 convictions. Often times, however, Department employees found guilty of sever misconduct were permitted to continue federal service for a prolonged period of time or indefinitely while facing minimal consequences for their actions.

Read the entire letter HERE.

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Ransom Money Disguised As “Voluntary” Mitigation Payments

It seems that the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources is conducting an investigation into how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determines what energy companies and other private businesses pay in what is conveniently called “Voluntary Payments” used to “mitigate” impacts on migratory birds. This could prove interesting.

An email that accompanied this letter from the head of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee to Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said that even though the letter requested sought-after information before December 1, 2016, as of January 10, 2017, no “substantive documents” had been received.

Isn’t this very much typical administration stonewalling? In this case, let the next director handle it.

Click this link to read the letter.

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Federal Wolf Management Fraught with Controversies and Failures

Press Release from the House Committee on Natural Resources:

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 21, 2016

Today, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held an oversight hearing on the status of the federal government’s inconsistent and unsuccessful wolf management efforts in the United States. The panel, which included local and state witnesses, focused on red wolves in the Southeast, gray wolves in the Northwest and Western Great Lakes and Mexican wolves in the Southwest.

For decades, ineffective and sometimes destructive federal management of wolves has negatively impacted communities, economies, livestock, family businesses, recreationists and even family pets in vast swaths of our nation […]. Just last week the [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] announced that the 30 year red wolf recovery program in North Carolina is, for all intents and purposes, a failure,Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said.

Director of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Alexandra Sandoval spoke about the failure of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to cooperate with the State of New Mexico in its Mexican wolf recovery efforts.

“Had the Service been more cooperative years ago […] we would likely be at a different place today than where we are – a court ordered injunction preventing [FWS] from releasing wolves in New Mexico in violation of state and federal law,” Sandoval stated.

It took over ten years and an act of Congress to delist gray wolves in Idaho and Montana despite the universally-acknowledged species recovery, according to Director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Virgil Moore.

If species do not come off the endangered species list when science-based recovery criteria are achieved, states and local communities have no incentive to be active participants in recovery efforts,” Moore stated.

Executive Director of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Gordon Myers discussed the unsustainability of the red wolf recovery program, including the existential threat of hybridization, for which FWS has no solution. He also emphasized the inability of FWS to keep introduced wolves from encroaching on private property.

States have demonstrated that they are by far the best situated and equipped to manage wildlife and uphold the doctrine of multiple use on public lands within their borders. Management responsibility for recovered species must be transferred to states at the earliest possibly juncture. In the meantime, FWS must make every effort to work with states and stakeholders in its recovery efforts, and it must take responsibility for its failures, such as those in the red wolf program.

Click here to view full witness testimony.

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New Obama Administration Habitat Rules Grant Limitless Discretion to Federal Agencies

Press Release from the House Committee on Natural Resources:

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 19, 2016 – Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources held an oversight hearing on the Obama Administration’s expansive new definitions and revised criteria for designating critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act.Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) argued the new rules allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Fisheries Service nearly limitless discretion in restricting private and federal land use. He pointed out the negative impact they will have on the American people.

“These rules will now make it even easier for the federal government to absorb larger and larger swaths of land and water […] from local, state governments and private citizens. […] It’s going to hurt people, and unfortunately those people who are going to be hurt have almost no recourse towards this particular situation,” Bishop said.

The rules usurp Congress’ legislative and constitutional prerogatives, and create sweeping new authorities to designate critical habitat at the agencies’ sole discretion.

“The Services have essentially granted to themselves authority to designate any area that may, someday in the future, become suitable for a species—even in places where there is absolutely no evidence currently that the species have existed there. […] In the future, I expect the agencies to ask Appropriations for tarot cards and ouija boards so they can do the work under this expanded rule,” Bishop stated.

Vice Chairman Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) highlighted the expected litigious challenges that will result from the new rules and called for an updated conservation strategy.

“Court battles slow down the ability to recover species and steal money from recovery. We need a new 21st century conservation effort that is consistent with the movement that the American people have made in their understanding of sound science. […] We can and should do better for our wildlife,” Lummis stated.

Wyoming witness Karen Budd-Falen, Senior Partner of Budd-Falen Law Offices, LLC, grew up a fifth-generation rancher and commented on the impact the rules will have on the local agriculture community.

“While the agriculture community raised a huge alarm over the ‘waters of the U.S.,’ the Fish and Wildlife Service was quietly implementing these new rules, in a piecemeal manner, without a lot of fanfare. Honestly, I believe these new habitat rules will have as great or greater impact on the private lands and federal land permits […]. I would hope that the outcry from the agriculture community, private property advocates, and our Congressional delegations would be as great,” Budd-Falen said.

Colorado witness Robbie LeValley, County Administrator of Delta County, argued the new rules will not benefit habitat species and will have a negative economic impact on ranchers and rural communities.

“Imposing regulatory change on grazing without any scientific basis is unwarranted and makes it clear that this Administration’s intent is to manage away from productive uses, rather than actually protecting species and their habitat,” LeValley stated.

Highlighting the FWS’s inconsistent track record on ESA implementation, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) asked Dan Ashe, Director of FWS, why—despite growing numbers of wolves—the Service has not finalized its 2013 proposed wolf delisting.

“The wolf is probably one of the most frustrating issues during my tenure as Director. […] We’re kind of like that truck that’s in the mud up to the running board, so you know we can’t go forward and we can’t go backward,” Ashe responded.

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019
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Beware the Peer Review

ExposeCorruptionFor several years now, Roxanne Quimby, founder of Burt’s Bees, has tried to get Maine to buy into the idea of creating, yet another, national park in the Baxter State Park region. Quimby sits on the board of directors for the National Park Service and recently turned the idea of the park over to her son Lucas St. Clair.

At a recent meeting in the Millinocket area, proponents and opponents met to exchange barbs and attempt to discredit each other. Nothing new.

According to the Bangor Daily News, St. Clair said:

…he could not count the number of wrong facts and figures in the presentations, but that it was vast. As an example, he said, the economic studies done on the park’s effect were peer reviewed, and approved, by the state’s former economist and a University of Maine forest products professor.

I cannot address specifically the economic studies referred to in this piece because I have not read them. Therefore, my following comments are based upon general facts and information that all U.S. citizens should be educated about concerning the dreaded “peer review” of scientific data.

We all cherry pick when it comes to selecting information to support our causes. Often those that do don’t realize that for each document you produce to support your claim, there may be just as many to disprove it. So, which documents are right and which ones are wrong?

Well, I cannot answer that question honestly and herein lies the rub. The system of peer review is seriously flawed. It’s down right broken.

To those willing to not bury their heads in the sand and pretend things are just ducky, we have known for some time that peer review is a worthless instrument. Yes, and unfortunately that is the truth. Corruption and greed have destroyed what may have been a good system of checks and balances….or at least a better one.

With all the complaining that has gone on, perhaps we are now beginning to hear some noise about this peer review process.

All decisions are based upon “best available science.” Best available science is a vague term, with no conditions or parameters set in order to maintain a truthful method of checks and balances. For that reason, peer review, which once was necessary if you ever had any hope of being heard, is mostly worthless. Anybody, with money and connections can obtain peer review. The trick is to keep the available peers contained within a specialized group to ensure no opposition is heard or considered – stacking the deck or rigging the system.

We saw this play out nicely in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the reintroduction of wolves to the Greater Yellowstone area. While the fake and rigged process allows for anyone to submit information, studies, data, concerns and yes, peer reviewed documents, there’s no control over which ones get serious attention and which ones don’t. Never mind the rules. It’s a free for all.

Back in December of 2014, the House Natural Resources Committee released a report about the concerns over whether or not “best available science” was using independent peer review and in general the report actually questions the quality of the so-called “science” being used.

The ESA requires that decisions on whether to list a species as threatened or endangered must be based on the “best scientific and commercial data available.” As one of the chief agencies responsible for implementing the ESA, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (“FWS”) has issued policies and guidance concerning the use of the best available science.

A review by the Committee’s Majority oversight staff of the FWS’ recent ESA listing decisions has found:

* The FWS’ peer review process, information quality policies, and guidance documents are used to justify the FWS’ listing decisions under the ESA. However, the policies are ambiguous as to what constitutes “independent” peer review. This has led to inconsistency in how FWS Regional offices conduct peer review.

* The FWS regularly recruits scientists to peer review its listing decisions who are well-known experts on the specific species at issue. In fact, the FWS routinely bases its listing decisions on science that has been developed by the same people who have been recruited by the FWS to serve as peer reviewers. Rather than providing a fresh perspective on how the science was conducted or whether the listing decision is supported by science, the peer reviewers are in effect being asked to review how the FWS has characterized their studies and research.

* The FWS does not have clear or consistent procedures in place across all FWS Regional offices to ensure that potential peer reviewers undergo a screening to identify possible conflicts of interest or impartiality. In many cases, those who have received grants or financial assistance from the Department of the Interior (“Department”) and its bureaus or other federal agencies to study the species at issue or who have known biases, positions, or affiliations with groups that have advocated for conservation of the species under the ESA are allowed to serve as peer reviewers.

* The FWS does not consistently disclose to the American public information about who serves as peer reviewers for ESA listing decisions, the instructions they are given, the substance of their comments, or how their comments are addressed by the FWS. Peer reviewer identities are often withheld, and their comments are not clearly identified or made publicly available in the course of the listing decisions.

While this report of the House Committee on Natural Resources is specifically addressing science involved with Endangered Species Act, surely the same problems exist concerning peer review for any document. The short of it is, no longer can peer review be trusted.

Recently the Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) released a working paper addressing many of these same problems. In the Executive Summary, page x, it states:

Fueled by decades of ineffective oversight, federal agencies’ respect for science and the scientific process has severely diminished. For that reason, one can easily foresee many potential applications of the enforcement framework offered in this paper.

Clearly we are seeing more and more concerns about important decisions being made based on what more and more people are seeing as biased, unsubstantiated, politically and monetarily driven trumped up “science.”

In 2000, Congress passed the Information Quality Act, (IQA) supposedly for the purpose of making sure crap wasn’t brought into decision making processes. WLF writes:

The law requires federal agencies to ensure the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of the scientific, technical, and statistical information that federal agencies adopt and disseminate to the public.

Fifteen years after passage of the IQA, and what we are hearing from places like the House Committee on Natural Resources, is that it’s still “crap in and crap out.”

Evidently the Office of Management and Budget is responsible for implementing the 2000 IQA law. The OMB’s guidelines were supposed to set minimum standards.

OMB’s IQA Guidelines required that each federal agency develop and adhere to their own IQA guidelines, and set out minimum criteria for scientific peer review of agency-drafted and third-party studies and scientific assessments, as well as criteria for the selection of peer reviewers. OMB dictated that these peer-review standards be especially rigorous for “highly influential scientific assessments.” Federal agencies must also provide an administrative review mechanism that will allow affected entities to seek correction of agency-disseminated information that was not adequately validated. Agencies routinely carry out this mandate by addressing requests for correction as part of their responses to public comments in a final regulation—an approach, the paper argues, that does not afford sufficient due process to stakeholders.

Sounds nice but obviously it’s not working. To be honest, with this sort of self-regulation within a corrupt government and rigged process, I have just about zero amount of faith that there can ever be reliable science-based documentation done with valid, quality peer review. There’s just too much money involved. Best Available Science therefore becomes a travesty.

It’s a crying shame for the science industry. We live in a post normal scientific era. People are crying out for honest and reliable scientific processes and information. Yet, nothing and no one can be trusted. Agendas run too deeply. People must understand that peer review is garbage. Do not accept it and do not rely on it – even when it involves stuff you want to hear. You are being used.

Whether Maine buys into the sales pitch to accept 150,000 acres of land for the purpose of a national park, that is up to the people in the state of Maine. As far as the rest of are concerned, we should make sure that we let the National Park Service and our congressional representatives know how we feel about another park and this idea of peer reviewed science.

However, Maine residents need to tread lightly over claims that any data necessary to make these major decisions is “peer reviewed science.” It may be valid or it may not. It’s up to you, because nobody else can be trusted, to find out.

And we know that will not happen. Good luck!

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Threat to Environmentalists’ Cash Cow

The link below is to a one-sided report of how the evil Republican Party and their even more evil “Tea Party” are proposing changes to the Endangered Species Act. The excerpt below is a good indication that those who make a lot of money in non governmental agencies that are nothing more than subsidiaries of the U.S. Federal Government, are getting nervous that their bread and butter will be taken away from them. For this they are scrambling hard to prevent that from happening.

In the meantime, for me anyway, all inquiries to members of the House Committee on Natural Resources about proposals to amend the Endangered Species Act have returned nothing……not even a courtesy reply of “thank you.” Yup! Them slimy, good for nothing, corrupt politicians have no interest in doing anything with the Endangered Species Act to “improve” it. Their interest is in saying and doing anything they can to get a damned vote so they can corruptly steal from taxpayers for another 2 or 6 years.

“The Republicans’ proposal is little more than a laundry list of unverified complaints from cherry-picked witnesses from the six hearings held by the Natural Resources Committee over the past three years,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director with the Center. “It’s telling that 118 of the citations in the report are from unsubstantiated statements from its own selected hearing witnesses and the statements of Republican members of the Committee. There’s not a single reference to a peer-reviewed scientific publication — not one — to support any recommendation for changes to the Act.”<<<Read More>>>

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75 Members of Congress Call for Wolf Delisting Nationwide

From the House Committee on Natural Resources web page:

75 Members Send Letter Calling for the Obama Admin to Fully Delist the Gray Wolf

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 13, 2013 –

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) and 74 Members of Congress sent a letter today to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe in support of the June 2013 proposed rule to nationally delist the Gray Wolf as “endangered” or “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, and in opposition to a proposal to list the Mexican wolf as a separate, endangered sub-species. This is the second letter, led by Chairman Hastings, Rep. Cynthia Lummis (WY-At Large), Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and more than five dozen other bipartisan and bicameral Members of Congress and Senators to Director Ashe calling for the delisting of the gray wolf. Despite issuing a proposed rule to delist the wolves five months ago, the Administration has yet to issue a final decision.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delisted the wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains in 2009 and in the Great Lake States in 2011. The current situation has created a confusing management and regulatory scheme that has left some states – including Washington, Oregon and Utah – in the unsustainable and random situation of having wolves listed on one side of a highway and delisted on the other.

“The statutory purpose of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is to recover species to the point where they are no longer considered ‘endangered’ or ‘threatened.’ The gray wolf is currently found in 46 countries around the world and has been placed in the classification of ‘least concern’ globally for risk of extinction by the International Union for Conservation Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission Wolf Specialist Group. This is a clear indication that this species is not endangered or threatened with extinction.” wrote the Members in the letter.

In the letter, Members also express opposition to the proposed provision to list the Mexican wolf as an endangered sub-species: “Since wolves were first provided protections under the ESA, uncontrolled and unmanaged growth of wolf populations has resulted in devastating impacts on hunting and ranching and tragic damages to historically strong and healthy herds of moose, elk, big horn sheep and mule deer. This is why we believe it is critical that you reconsider your decision to list the Mexican wolf as a sub-species under ESA, which would have a severe impact on private landowners, including ranchers, in Arizona, New Mexico, and surrounding states. We believe that state governments are fully qualified to responsibly manage wolf populations and are better able to meet the needs of local communities and wildlife populations.”

Click here to read the full letter.

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