FWS to revise seven of eight ESA decisions
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
December 8, 2007
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed its review of eight decisions made under the Endangered Species Act that may have been inappropriately influenced by the former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks Julie MacDonald, and will take action to revise seven of the eight decisions, according to a press release from the federal agency.
FWS will issue revisions to:
• White-tailed prarie dog - the decision not to list the species will be reconsidered in fiscal year 2009.
• Cananda lynx - FWS will complete a new proposed rule designating crucial habitat for Canada lynx by August 2008.
• Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse - FWS will withdraw the proposed delisting rule for this species. FWS will amend the mouse listing instead.
• Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse habitat - One a final listing rule is issued, FWS will review critical habitat designation for this species.
• Hawaiian picture-wing flies - FWS has re-proposed critical habitat for 12 species of this fly.
• Arroyo toad - FWS will revise the critical habitat designation for this species.
• California red-legged frog - FWS will revise the critical habitat designation for this species.
FWS declined to revise the critical habitat designation for the Southwestern willow flycatcher.
The decisions in question were overseen by former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Julie MacDonald, who resigned May 1, 2007. Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett asked Fish and Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall in May 2007 to review decisions overseen by MacDonald to determine if any of the decisions require revision based on her involvement. The Service reviewed hundreds of actions and identified eight decisions that required further review.
“The integrity of the Endangered Species Act and the decisions made under its authority depend on the rigorous and impartial analysis of scientific evidence, as well as consistent application of the legal standards of the Act and our regulations,” said Hall. “When I became Director I made scientific integrity my highest priority, and these reviews underscore our commitment to species conservation.”
Although MacDonald worked on other Endangered Species Act decisions, the review determined that her involvement in the outcome of those decisions did not affect the species’ status. Many other decisions influenced by MacDonald involved application of law and policy that were within her authority to make as deputy assistant secretary.
Click on the link below for more detailed information about the MacDonald controversy.