Julie MacDonald

Scientific integrity in the Trump administration

We can’t tell yet what role science will play in the new administration’s policy choices, but there is reason for concern

  There has understandably been a great deal of hand wringing in the environmental policy world since the US presidential election, including on this site (see, for example, Sean’s post here, Dan’s here, and Ann’s here). There are so many hands to be wrung, however, that we’re nowhere near through them all. One topic that …


Back to the future in northwest federal forests

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today announced the withdrawal of the Bush administration’s last-minute revisions of the Northwest Forest Plan. Interior will also ask a federal court to vacate the 2008 modification of critical habitat for the northern spotted owl, and will review the 2008 spotted owl recovery plan, heavily criticized by outside scientists, which was …


An important step toward scientific integrity

Yesterday, together with his executive order on stem cell research, President Obama issued a memorandum to the executive branch on scientific integrity.  (Dan noted the news of the pending decision here.)  The memorandum is just a starting point, but it is a very good one.  It elevates the issue to a high profile, assigning the …


A pointed end to the Julie MacDonald era

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its revised critical habitat designation for the Canada lynx. (Hat tip, ESABlawg.) Back in the day when Julie MacDonald was serving Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, FWS had designated just over 1,800 square miles as lynx critical habitat. After MacDonald was forced out …


The importance of outside advisors and career staff

Dan posted recently about the decision remanding EPA’s latest revision of the particulate NAAQS, American Farm Bureau v. EPA. One thing that struck me reading the decision is the powerful role played not only by outside advisory groups but also by career agency staff. Even if they are overridden by the political decisionmakers, the views …