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Dan Bacher
08-05-2007, 08:19 AM
This is Representative Mike Thompson's report on Tuesday's hearing regarding Cheney's interference with scientific decisions that led to the Klamath fish kill of 2002. Cheney, as expected, declined to testify as to the allegations unearthed by reporters from the Washington Post. However, the hearing did reveal "startling new evidence" that Bush administration officials bypassed key oversight mechanisms when creating a biological opinion would affect endangered fish on the Klamath, according to Thompson. The result was the big juvenile and adult fish kills of 2002 - and massive mortality among juvenile salmon every year since then.

House Hearing Finds Manipulation of Scientific Process Behind Klamath River
July 31, 2007

WASHINGTON – Today, startling new evidence was revealed during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on whether government officials manipulated science in order to divert water from the Klamath River.

The Department of Commerce’s Inspector General testified that department officials bypassed key oversight mechanisms when creating a biological opinion on how a water diversion would affect endangered fish in the Klamath. The final biological opinion, which was later found in violation of the Endangered Species Act, contributed to the deaths of 80,000 spawning salmon.

“Today’s hearing is clear evidence that the scientific process behind the water diversion was purposely manipulated by government officials,” said Thompson. “Sidestepping this process led to an illegal water plan that contributed to the largest adult salmon kill in the West.”

The hearing was held by the House Natural Resources Committee in response to a request made by Thompson and 35 of his Democratic colleagues from California and Oregon. They called for the hearing because of the reported pressure Vice President Cheney placed upon the Department of Interior to, as the Washington Post stated in their June investigative report, “prioritize economic interests over protected fish.” The Post reported that the vice president called for water to be diverted from the Klamath River Basin to farms in Oregon in order to secure the farmers’ votes.

Vice President Cheney declined to testify at the hearing. However, testimony from the Department of Commerce’s Inspector General, John M. Seeba, indicates that Department of Commerce bureaucrats did manipulate the science. While the vice president reportedly called a Department of Interior bureaucrat, Commerce and Interior worked in tandem to create the water diversion plan.

“The history of political strong-arming in the Klamath is despicable,” added Thompson. “Fortunately, a silver lining has begun to form. Stakeholders in the Klamath River Basin are working together on a plan to recover the fish and help the farmers who need water for their land. I believe there is room for both the fishers and the farmers, but we must ensure the government’s future involvement is transparent and honest. To that end, I am committed to continuing this investigation and improving the oversight process.”

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CONTACT: Anne Warden at (202) 225-3311, (703) 338-4480 or anne.warden [at] mail.house.gov.

BreakofDawn
08-07-2007, 12:48 PM
Impeach bush!