March 7, 2014
Today, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) sent a letter to Ken Berg, Manager at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Washington state Fish and Wildlife Office, seeking answers to specific questions about whether or not the Service’s recent decision to list the White Bluffs bladderpod as threatened and to designate more than 2,000 acres as “critical habitat” was motivated by arbitrary settlement deadlines or by quality data and science.
"The White Bluffs bladderpod was one of the many species included in the 2011 closed-door settlement between the FWS and the Center for Biological Diversity, which arbitrarily established a deadline of 2013 for the FWS to decide whether to list the White Bluffs bladderpod as a protected species. Based on the Service’s handling of the bladderpod listing, it appears that this deadline, rather than quality data and science, drove the listing and critical habitat decision,” wrote Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) in the letter.
In the letter, Chairman Hastings raises several specific concerns with the listing decision, including the FWS’ basis for classifying the White Bluffs bladderpod as a separate subspecies, the FWS’ questionable and inadequate process for notifying affected local landowners and citizens of the listing proposal, and the FWS’ peer review of DNA data contradicting the listing. The letter requests that the documents and information be provided to the Committee by March 21, 2014.
Click here to view the full text of the letter and the specific documents requests.
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