USDA Forest Service
||Contact: Joe Walsh, 202-205-1134
USDA FOREST SERVICE CHIEF
CALLS FOR OIG TO BUILD UPON AGENCY'S REVIEWS AND CONDUCT BROADER
INVESTIGATION INTO NATIONWIDE CANADA LYNX SURVEY
WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2001 -- "I am deeply
concerned with reports of inappropriate actions by three U.S. Department
of Agriculture Forest Service biologists and other federal and state
employees with regards to the scientific samples submitted for analysis
in the nationwide Canada Lynx survey.
The Forest Service took appropriate action last winter when it
directed its Law Enforcement and Investigations to review the facts
and hired an outside, independent investigator. All three Forest
Service employees were subject to preliminary personnel action and
removed from further participation in the Lynx survey project. Their
actions, however, have called into question the scientific integrity
of the interagency survey.
In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Interior, I am requesting
USDA's Office of Inspector General to build upon the Forest Service's
previous reviews and to conduct a broader investigation into the
facts of the nationwide survey.
The Forest Service's scientific capability and history are among
the best in the world. Forest Service science is well-respected
around the world for providing nearly 100 years of cutting-edge
science in the sound management of our nation's forests and grasslands.
I am committed to determining all the facts. We should not allow
an isolated incident to overshadow the hard work and dedication
of our body of land management professionals."