Corruption in Interior Department

Shocking, shocking.

Thorn tree

Interior Official Steps Down Over Rules Violation - New York Times
A deputy assistant secretary at the Interior Department resigned Monday, a month after the department’s inspector general issued a stinging report that said she violated federal rules by giving industry lobbyists internal agency documents and rode roughshod over agency scientists. ... Among other actions that drew the ire of wildlife biologists and lawyers, Ms. MacDonald had heavily edited biologists’ reports on sage grouse, a species that in the end was not placed on the threatened or endangered lists. Their habitat overlaps with vast parts of the Rocky Mountain West, where oil and gas drilling and cattle ranching are prevalent; listing the grouse as endangered or threatened could have curbed those industries’ access to federal lands.

In another case in the inspector general’s report, Ms. MacDonald demanded that scientists reduce the nesting range for the Southwest willow flycatcher to a radius of 1.8 miles, from a 2.1-miles, so it would not cross into California, where her husband has a ranch.

She also gave internal agency documents to industry lawyers and a lawyer from the Pacific Legal Foundation, all of whom frequently filed suit against the Interior Department over endangered species decisions.

Earlier this year, J. Steven Griles, the former deputy interior secretary, pleaded guilty to lying to a Senate committee about his dealings with Jack Abramoff, the disgraced lobbyist who is now in prison.

Bob Hollack, a wildlife service biologist in the Spokane, Wash., office who resigned last month in part after prolonged disagreements over the editing of his scientific reports, said in an interview, “It will be interesting to see what they do now — clean up some of her messes or go on doing the same thing.”

The truth is, if one were to dig deeply into most Departments of the Bush Administration, one could find similar corruption. Ms. MacDonald might have been a bit more clumsy than most, but she is certainly part of a culture of corruption.

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on May 2, 2007 9:31 AM.

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