Members Seek Additional Answers from USFWS on Use of Outside Consultants for "Social Change" Initiatives
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 22, 2023 | Committee Press Office (202-225-2761)
Last week, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) led a letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams, seeking transparency on the use of funds to hire outside consultants for various trainings, projects and workshops that are unrelated to the mission of the agency. The Service’s use of outside consultants includes paying nearly $2.5 million to a “social change agency” from Portland, Ore. In part, the members wrote:
"The Service purportedly utilizes the expertise of outside consultants to institute 'social change' initiatives, including but not limited to, programs on social justice; environmental justice; eco-grief; diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility; and justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility.
"The Committee is interested in understanding how the Service ascertains the need for an outside consultant in a particular focus area, as well as the process by which the Service selects and retains these consultants. The Committee is especially interested in understanding how the Service, aligning with the priorities of the Biden Administration, promotes various 'social change' and environmental justice initiatives at the expense of good governance and the Service’s mission to conserve and manage 'fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the American people.'"Read the full letter here, and the initial letter sent on March 14 here.
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