Buh bye, Julie!

Interior Dept. Official Facing Scrutiny Resigns.

Trying to make sure it doesn't happen again, Ron Wyden holds up Interior nominee over ethics:
The report concluded that as a result of these various actions MacDonald violated the Code of Federal Regulations pertaining to Basic Obligation of Public Service (5 C.F.R. 2635.101) and Appearance of Preferential Treatment and Use of Nonpublic Information (5 C.F.R. 2635.703). ...

In all of these cases, Ms. MacDonald overrode the technical findings of career FWS scientists and staff with little, if any, scientific basis. This not only interfered with the agency's ability to make sound scientifically based decisions, but the Report documents the fact that Ms. MacDonald's interference in the agency's process compromised the legal integrity and position of the agency to the point where FWS regional attorneys routinely refused to sign-off on the legal sufficiency of the agency's work (known as "surnaming"). ...

These are serious transgressions and abuses of authority by a senior Interior Department official. As we discussed during your Senate confirmation hearing last year, I believe it is imperative that the Department act decisively to address the ethics scandals that have tarnished its reputation in recent years. However, public confidence in the Department remains shaky - and for legitimate reason, as documented by the Inspector General's investigative report on Ms. MacDonald.

As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, with oversight responsibility for the Interior Department, and as a Senator representing a state directly affected by Ms. MacDonald's actions as cited in the Inspector General's investigative report, I ask that you inform me what actions you are taking in response to this matter.

Until I am satisfied that the transgressions involving Ms. MacDonald will not be allowed to happen again in your Department, I shall place a hold on Senate confirmation of Lyle Laverty, the President's nominee for Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
The Bush administration's environmental policy these last 6 years has followed one simple equation: if there is any discernible benefit of a regulation to the environment, it follows that therefore the regulation must be detrimental to the economy. Hence, they work harder at attempting to find what harm might be done and weakening the regulation than working on making the regulation effective and less costly. Congressional oversight might finally reverse this vicious cycle, but ultimately we'll need a new President.