Felix Smith, retired US Fish & Wildlife biologist, discovered the deformed and death wildlife at Kesterson Wildlife Refuge in western Merced County that resulted in cessation of west-side drainage of selenium-laced agricultural waste water to that site. Smith is extremely well qualified to address the senator on issues of political interference with embattled federal scientists defending the public trust and environmental law and regulation. He's seen it all.
Badlands Journal editorial board
February 19, 2010
Honorable Dianne Feinstein – Senator
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Feinstein:
The SF Chronicle of February 18, 2010 carried you viewpoint "Water is Jobs". In that “Open Forum” piece you say you want the power to make technical modifications to Biological Opinions prepared by agency scientists. What the heck is going on – technical modifications, editing facts? Bush Administration lackeys modified Biological Opinions according to the DOI - Inspector General. If we have every elected official providing technical clarity to Biological Opinions in the same way Julie MacDonald did, how is the public to determine what is the science put forth by government scientists and what is bull crap put out by politicians to satisfy special interests. How then does the public tell the difference between political or Gerry rigged science and science base on the best available data. In my opinion tampering with a Biological Opinion is tampering with a Federal document, therefore a Federal offense with punishment being time in jail if convicted.
Biologists may and should testify under oath as to what they did and said in reports. Are Senate staffers going to be put under oath in the same court to testify what and how they Gerry-rigged a Biological Opinion in favor of a political friend at the cost of the people's truth and fact supported decisions. Saying that you want to make technical changes to Biological Opinions is stepping over the line and is clearly unethical.
Trust your government scientists to tell the truth to you and to the people. That information should be the same when under oath. Political decision by the Governor of this State 50 to 60 years ago regarding the San Joaquin River diversion at Friant was over turned by the courts. However it took 50 years to play out. That political decision did not stand the test of honest government or honest people in government. What it showed is that political corruption starts at or near the top and special favors for special friends is the game you are playing. The courts are the people’s last line of defense. And they will use the courts to level the playing field.
It looks like the decision by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission is very alive and well and that Senator Feinstein is one of the first elected public official to receive the benefits of that decision.
Felix E. Smith