Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Interior Appointee Stood to Profit from ESA Decision

You will surely be shocked and surprised to find Julie MacDonald had a personal interest in a listing issue and was a dirty, filthy bag of wingnut scum. This can't be true, because the Chimp said during the 2000 campaign for Al Gore's job that if elected he would "restore honor and dignity to the White House," after the previous evil liberal president spent all his time having his knob polished in the Oval Orifice.

This is without doubt yet another example of the left wing liberal media and left wing liberal Inspector General unjustifiably attacking a true and honest patriot!!! When will these outrages end! The horror. The horror.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: Interior appointee stood to profit from ESA decision -- IG (11/28/2007)
Dan Berman, Greenwire senior reporter

An Interior Department political appointee helped remove a California fish from the endangered species list despite owning property and a business that could be affected by that decision, the Interior inspector general charges in a new report.

Julie MacDonald, the former deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks, should have recused herself from the case involving the Sacramento splittail, IG Earl Devaney said.

Although the Fish and Wildlife Service made the decision to delist the fish as a threatened species before MacDonald was involved, she made more than 500 changes to the reasoning and scientific justification in the final decision, a finding that could affect her own property and income in the future.

"MacDonald was involved extensively and intimately in the final editing process of the splittail," the IG wrote.

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia has declined to pursue the case, and Interior took no action before MacDonald resigned from the department in May. In fact, MacDonald was promoted less than a year after the final splittail rule was issued.

MacDonald's Dixon, Calif., farm is located in the Yolo Bypass, which provides flood control for the Sacramento River. It is valued at more than $1 million, and generated up to $1 million in income last year, according to MacDonald's financial disclosure report filed May 1, the day she resigned from Interior.

Before joining Interior, MacDonald was a vocal, local opponent of the listing after FWS classified the splittail as "threatened" in 1999. The splittail's population had declined 62 percent between 1984 and 1999.

Significantly, MacDonald challenged the statistical analysis of fish population data.

A statistician hired to conduct the statistical analysis told the IG that MacDonald was "very dogmatic" in her opposition to his data. Because they were adopted in the final rule, MacDonald's changes could be used as a precedent in future Endangered Species Act decisions, a senior agency official said in the report.

FWS spokeswoman Valerie Fellows said MacDonald "provided substantial input, but it didn't change the service's final decision" to delist the species.

'Axe to grind'
Devaney's report, the second this year involving MacDonald, gives more ammunition to congressional opponents of the Bush administration's record on endangered species.

"Julie MacDonald came to her job with an axe to grind, that she failed to recuse herself from critical decisions in which she had clear conflicts of interest, and that she escaped punishment for those hidden conflicts by sneaking out the back door," said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) in a statement.

MacDonald resigned in May after Devaney issued a scathing report that found she violated ethics rules, edited scientific decisions on endangered species issues and passed internal agency information to outside parties suing the department.

Yesterday, FWS announced it would revise seven rulings MacDonald influenced that denied endangered species listings or limited critical habitat designations (E&ENews PM, Nov. 27).

Meanwhile, the Center for Biological Diversity has filed six lawsuits claiming Bush administration appointees overrode federal scientists' recommendations on endangered species actions and plans to file 49 more, one for each species it claims was denied protection due to political intervention.

Job search
The IG also detailed MacDonald's efforts to find a new job between December 2006 and February 2007, at a time where she was still involved in Endangered Species Act decisions.

MacDonald applied for jobs with Shell Oil Co., the American Forest & Paper Association and Portland Cement Association.

At AF&PA, MacDonald interviewed twice for the position of vice president of forestry and wood products, a post that was eventually filled by David Tenny, then a deputy to Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey.

Although MacDonald was involved in nine endangered species decisions during those three months, she recused herself from issues related to the recovery plan and critical habitat designation for the northern spotted owl, the IG reports.

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