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Technology

Bush Interior Department Official to Endangered Species: $#% You!

Reality BaseBy Melissa LafskyDecember 17, 2008 4:17 AM

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January 20 can't come soon enough, but first let the crimes of the Bush administration be released and judged. Today's chopping block head is Julie MacDonald, a former high-ranking official in the Interior Department's Fish and Wildlife Service. According to a newly-released report from Interior Inspector General Earl Devaney, MacDonald successfully "tainted nearly every decision made on the protection of endangered species over five years" and even exceeded expectations by "exert[ing] improper political interference on many more rulings than previously thought." MacDonald's priority, according to the report, was not so much the well-being of hurting species, but rather a particular political agenda (hmm, perhaps we see a pattern?) that led her to push through a host of rulings axing greater protection for endangered species. Seven of them were (thankfully) reversed by the department, but Devaney's report found an additional 13 decisions that MacDonald skewed to fit her agenda, and two more that she "indirectly affected." MacDonald, a civil engineer with a master's degree in management, resigned from her post in May of 2007 amid accusations that she'd "violated the Endangered Species Act, censored science and mistreated staff of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service." Things had gotten so bad that a House congressional oversight committee was about to hold a hearing—and they only knew the half of it, according to Devaney, who stated in his report that:

"MacDonald's zeal to advance her agenda has caused considerable harm to the integrity of the ESA 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 [and] "[h]er heavy-handedness has cast doubt on nearly every ESA decision issued during her tenure."

Then again, in her defense, have any ESA decisions in the past eight years been any less dubious? Related: RB: The Rape of the EPA: Bush Appointee Steven Johnson Called to Task RB: Fights Over Space! NASA Head Disses Obama’s Transition Team RB: It’s Not Over Yet: Bush Sneaks In Harmful Pollution Laws

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