Regional FWS director warns employees against using new science

The southwestern regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t like his science fresh. He recently issued a memo instructing his staff to disregard any genetic science about an endangered species conducted after the species was listed under the Endangered Species Act (in some cases as far back as the 1970s). His move may save Southwestern states money on species-recovery efforts. The reasoning is based on a controversial federal court decision regarding Oregon coho salmon, but it has angered many biologists and FWS staff. Says population genetics professor Philip Hedrick, “They talk about using the best science, but that’s clearly not what they’re trying to do here.” In unrelated news, President Bush visited U.S. EPA headquarters on Monday to proclaim that its new administrator, Stephen Johnson, would “help us continue to place sound scientific analysis at the heart of all major environmental decisions.”