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March 3, 2009 

Obama Restores Scientific Integrity to Endangered Species Act, Says Science Group

Statement by Francesca Grifo, Union Of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (March 3, 2009) – Today President Obama announced that his administration is overturning a Bush administration rule that allowed federal agencies to initiate projects, such as roads or dams, without consulting with Fish and Wildlife Service or National Marine Fisheries Service scientists about the threats the projects might pose to endangered species.  

Below is a statement by Francesca Grifo, director of the Scientific Integrity Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS):

"Today President Obama rightly restored the proper role of government scientists in deciding the fate of imperiled species. His predecessor pushed federal scientists aside to pave the way for potentially destructive federal projects. Before the unwarranted Bush rule change, scientists at the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service for decades provided informed analyses of the threat federal projects pose to endangered species. The Bush rule allowed agencies with little or no expertise and potential conflicts of interest to cut those scientists out of the equation.

"The Bush rule, which was finalized in the last days of the outgoing administration, made it easier for federal agencies to cherry pick science to justify their projects. This is neither a good nor honest way of making policy.

"Fish and Wildlife Service biologists are looking for a signal from President Obama that their work is valued and will be used appropriately. Rolling back this hasty rule—written behind closed doors and with little time for public scrutiny—is a good step to restore scientific integrity in federal policymaking.

"Congress should resist attempts to stop the Interior Department from reversing this flawed rule. After years of scientific scandal, the Interior Department and its partner agencies desperately need to regain credibility by making decisions with honesty, clarity and transparency."



The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading U.S. science-based nonprofit organization working for a healthy environment and a safer world. Founded in 1969, UCS is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and also has offices in Berkeley, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

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