January 20 can’t come soon enough, but first let the crimes of the Bush administration be released and judged. Today’s chopping block head is Julie MacDonald, a former high-ranking official in the Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service. According to a newly-released report from Interior Inspector General Earl Devaney, MacDonald successfully “tainted nearly every decision made on the protection of endangered species over five years” and even exceeded expectations by “exert[ing] improper political interference on many more rulings than previously thought.”
MacDonald’s priority, according to the report, was not so much the well-being of hurting species, but rather a particular political agenda (hmm, perhaps we see a pattern?) that led her to push through a host of rulings axing greater protection for endangered species. Seven of them were (thankfully) reversed by the department, but Devaney’s report found an additional 13 decisions that MacDonald skewed to fit her agenda, and two more that she “indirectly affected.”
MacDonald, a civil engineer with a master’s degree in management, resigned from her post in May of 2007 amid accusations that she’d “violated the Endangered Species Act, censored science and mistreated staff of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”
Remember how un-cuddly and un-fuzzy animals were getting the shaft from both the media and the public alike? Well, finally an organization is taking a stand for the rights of the slimy, the toady, and the generally awful. The Conservation Law Foundation has asked the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to add the Atlantic wolffish—the picture speaks for itself—to the Endangered Species List.
As with the majority of aquatic species, the fish is being royally screwed by commercial fishing and could soon be wiped off the planet. The only difference between it and all those photogenic dolphins, however, is that the wolffish is, well, freaking hideous. Which makes it all the less likely that the CLF’s push will be well-received—especially considering that New England fishermen are already eying this move as a potential source of more fishing restrictions.
So unless it’s discovered to make pearls or form the world’s greatest sushi, we’re not holding our breaths for the foundations and charities to spring forth trumpeting the species’ survival. Ah well—we’ll always have pictures.