Choice to head FWS has iffy record on endangered species

Dale Hall, a 27-year veteran of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will probably be confirmed today as the agency’s director by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. A full Senate vote on the confirmation is expected soon. Hall’s tenure at FWS seems notable mainly for his unwillingness to strongly support protections for endangered and threatened species in the Southwestern U.S., including Mexican gray wolves. He also has a reputation for trying to get staff to “change the science” in ways that might weaken the case for species protections, says a longtime colleague. The Bush administration, various wildlife agency associations, and at least one tribal fish association support Hall, and Senate Democrats haven’t actively opposed him. But the Center for Biological Diversity’s Kieran Suckling says, “Hall was picked because he has proven himself to be the Darth Vader of endangered species.”