News Release

USDA Forest Service Chief Calls for OIG to Build Upon Agency's Reviews and Conduct Broader Investigation into Nationwide Canada Lynx Survey

Washington
December 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."