Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Chairman Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)led a letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Martha Williams, seeking transparency and answers on the department's "ecogrief" workshops. In part, the members wrote:
"We write to receive information and answers from your agency regarding your decision to conduct 'Acknowledging Ecogrief and Developing Resilience' counseling sessions for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) employees. These blatantly partisan ideology sessions are a misuse of taxpayer dollars and extremely tone deaf, particularly when USFWS is carrying out policies that negatively impact our constituents and species conservation.
"The Washington Times first reported on February 15, 2023, that the USFWS Southwest Region is offering workshops to employees who 'seek to normalize the wide range of emotional responses that conservationists experience while empowering participants to act while taking care of themselves.'Included in the workshop are ways to 'define ecological grief and eco-resilience' and 'examine common emotional reactions associated with ecological grief.'We are deeply concerned that this kind of meaningless pandering is a colossal waste of taxpayer funding, does nothing to further the purpose of the USFWS, and diverts important resources away from critical agency functions."