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Published July 05, 2010 | Associated Press
Documents show federal regulators concluded offshore oil drilling posed a low risk to endangered wildlife. The conclusion is at odds with scenes of pelicans fighting to survive the massive Gulf oil spill.
A September 2007 memo from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said large oil spills from Gulf drilling projects are "low-probability events" that weren't likely to affect brown pelicans, sea turtles and other endangered species at the time.
The memo, first reported by The New York Times, concluded that the chance of oil from an offshore spill of at least 1,000 barrels reaching endangered species or their habitats was no greater than 26 percent.
The agency didn't challenge an assessment of potential danger from Gulf projects that included the Deepwater Horizon rig.
Today's Must Read
By Paul Kiel - March 30, 2007, 8:52AM
The Justice Department is far from the only government agency troubled by politicization under the Bush administration. All you have to do is spin the wheel.
So today, it's the Fish and Wildlife Service! And at the center of it is one Julie A. MacDonald, appointed by Bush to be the deputy assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks at the Interior Department. The very ugly details of her malfeasance have been exposed by an inspector general report. (Update: MacDonald, by the way, has a degree is in civil engineering and has no formal educational background in natural sciences.)
Ms. MacDonald, whose job is to oversee policy decisions on endangered species and other wildlife, sent internal agency documents to industry lobbyists (e.g. she twice sent "internal Environmental Protection Agency documents — one involving water quality management — to individuals whose e-mail addresses ended in 'chevrontexaco.com,") and generally ran roughshod over agency scientists.
Here's how she works: MacDonald just made stuff up. If scientists recommended a certain action, MacDonald would alter the recommendation or simply ignore it if it threatened industry or landowners in any way.