Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What? The Interior Department cooked the books on endangered species? That can't be possible!

I know it sounds incredible, but it's true: a top Bushie official violated ethics codes (if not the law) to cook the books on environmental information to meet the administration's political agenda. Yes, shocking. This time it's regarding endangered species, according to the Interior Department's own inspector general. The official, Julie McDonald, had no background in natural science, yet the Associated Press says she...

"...did pervasive harm to the department's morale and integrity and may have risked the well-being of species with her agenda, Interior Inspector General Earl Devaney said in his report out Monday.
The Interior Department last year reversed seven rulings that denied endangered species increased protection, after an investigation found that MacDonald had applied political pressure in those cases. The new report looked at nearly two dozen other
endangered species decisions not examined in the earlier report. It found MacDonald directly interfered with at least 13 decisions and indirectly affected at least two more."

Apparently, her name has turned into a verb at her office. If you're a senior career worker in the Interior Department, and she comes down hard on you to lie or withhold information, you've been "McDonalded."

Devaney said "MacDonald's zeal to advance her agenda has caused considerable harm to the integrity of the Endangered Species Act program and to the morale and reputation" of the Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as potential harm to animals under the Endangered Species Act.
"Her heavy-handedness has cast doubt on nearly every ESA decision issued during her tenure," from 2002 until 2007, the report said.

In a way, I'm really going to miss these people. The polar bears aren't, though.