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  • Inspector general will investigate Keystone XL

    According to a memo posted by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the State Department's inspector general will conduct an investigation into the Keystone XL permitting process. Fourteen members of Congress requested an audit two weeks ago, citing irregularities in the environmental review for the pipeline.  Just to recap: At TransCanada's suggestion, the State Department hired environmental […]

  • Federal biologist who reported polar bear deaths now under (deeply weird) investigation

    Back in 2006, Dr. Charles Monnett published an article that included observations about polar bear deaths in the Beaufort Sea. In the report, co-authored with another scientist, Monnett reported seeing four dead polar bears in 2004. Monnett works for the federal government, and this month he was put on administrative leave while the government investigates "integrity issues" connected to that report. Administrative leave means he has to put all current research on hold.

    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a watchdog organization, has formally complained about the investigation. In its complaint, the group includes portions of an interview the Department of the Interior inspector general conducted with Monnett. From the transcript, it appears that they were concerned about the method Monnett and his colleague had used to achieve a rough estimate of the mortality rate. The group writes that "it became clear that the IG agents were focused on what in their mind was a disparity but was, in fact, their inability to understand the note.”

    And, if you read the transcript, the investigators do seem tangled up. Here's a sample: