Leaked FWS Analysis Indicates Greater Sage Grouse Decision
Tainted by Politics

On December 3, 2004, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that an "independent" panel of biologists and a second panel of agency administrators had submitted their recommendation to Director Steve Williams that the agency should deny protection to the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act.

Conservationists were disappointed, but not surprised by the announcement, as the Sagebrush Sea Campaign had received a leaked draft of the biological analysis that indicated what the agency's decision would be. However, what is disturbing about the leaked analysis -- as reported by the New York Times -- is that the draft includes edits and comments by a Bush Administration official in the Department of Interior that attempt to discredit the WAFWA assessment, other peer-reviewed science and even a few scientists cited in the analysis, as well as remove text that might have supported listing the grouse as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

The question of whether the sage grouse should be protected under the Endangered Species Act should be answered by science, not politics. While the Bush Administration is known to politicize science to promote its agenda, this document is an incredible, inside look into just how insidious this practice has become.

It is difficult to believe that the sage grouse received fair consideration in the agency's decision-making process if this edited document was used to support the agency's "no listing" decision.

Jackson Hole News and Guide Report: grouse data skewed (5/9/07)
Idaho Mountain Express (Editorial) Treachery at Interior (5/4/07)
Washington Post Interior Dept. official facing scrutiny resigns (5/2/07)
Washington Post (Editorial) Extinct sense: a troubling report from the Interior Department (3/31/07)
Casper Star Tribune (AP) Investigators rap Interior Official (3/31/07)
Washington Post Report faults Interior appointee (3/30/07)
New York Times Report says Interior official overrode work of scientists (3/29/07)
Washington Post Bush Appointee Said to Reject Advice on Endangered Species (10/30/06)
Boise Weekly Sage grouse prefer sage, not "stuff" (08/10/06)
New York Times Interior Official and Federal Biologists Clash on Danger to Bird (12/5/04)
Emagazine (Commentary) Sacrificing the Sage Grouse (Dec. 04)
Idaho Statesman Panel says keep sage grouse off endangered list (12/4/04)