Thursday, May 3, 2007

Another Big-Industry Bush Lackey Resigns In Disgrace

Oh yes! Score one for lovers of the environment everywhere! Yet another Bush lackey has been forcefully booted into resignation. This time it is the pro-industry, non-science-literate, anti-scientist, non-lover of endangered species Deputy Secretary of the Interior, Julie A. MacDonald, who oversaw the Department of Fish and Wildlife:,1,7039154.story?coll=la-headlines-nation&ctrack=1&cset=true

Also here:

Fellow science blogger, GrrlScientist, has a good write-up: HERE.

Ah yes, MacDonald, the person who was in charge of safeguarding much of our natural resources, insuring that endangered species are preserved, and insuring scientific accuracy in the reports of her scientists, has resigned after repeated egregious abuses of her power. It is another glorious day in the turning of the tide, as science and reason are slowly winning back the minds of America against the disinformation spewed forth by the neo-cons and BushCo.

MacDonald repeatedly overrode her scientists, preventing important data about endangered animal populations from reaching policy makers and the public. According to the LATimes article, “In many instances, MacDonald's changes caused scientists to request that their names be removed from documents. The inspector general calculated that in the last six years, 75% of the endangered species reports from the Fish and Wildlife Service's Western offices did not have standard signoffs by scientific staff members.”

Among her abuses, MacDonald has repeatedly passed sensitive FWS and EPA documents to big oil and other industry lobbies, insisted on reduction of habitat for a number of sensitive and endangered species (stating that economic concerns overrode the value for the species), covered up data that would have seemed harmful to big industry, and bullied scientists into changing their conclusions.

Before her appointment to the position in 2001, MacDonald was a civil engineer, with no formal training or experience in the biological sciences. Of course, is it any surprise that she got the position, given that she was appointed by former Interior Secretary, Gale Norton, another Bush appointee who resigned in disgrace for abuses of power (with the Jack Abramoff / Indian Casino scandal and uncollected royalties from oil drillers, she had been a litigator beforehand for mining-, cattle-, and oil-interests).

It’s getting harder and harder for the pro-industry Republicans to get their way these days. How many have left in disgrace in the last 7 years? I’ve lost count. And let us not forget that the times are changing. All those dreams of the hippies are slowly but surely coming true (see Mark Medford’s article: “The Hippies Were Right”). Even the steak-chewin’ crowd who think raw vegetables are a “yuppie thing” are coming around to buying organic and recycled goods at Wal-Mart (of all places!) and finding a twinge of pride when they drop some money on that new hybrid to chauffer their soccer-playing kids.

Doubtless the White House (which fuels its heating system with the still-twitching corpses of environmentalists and oil taken from Alaska) will attempt to put another MacDonald in her place. Let us hope that America’s newly-restored Democratic Congress can insure an appointee who has at least a little bit of green in his “ring around the collar”.

UPDATE (5/9/07): Though MacDonald has resigned, controversy still rages over the long-term consequences of her meddling and the role her assistants played. Congress has conducted an inquiry (ARTICLE).

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