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®: CRE Regulatory Action of the Week

FWS Forida Panther Website Acknowledges Impact of Data Quality Act Petition

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a website devoted to the Service's efforts to preserve the Florida panther. The FWS website acknowledges the impact that a Data Quality Act Petition has had on these efforts. For example, one FWS document on this website explains, "The Service released a response to [the DQA] appeal in March 2005 accepting the recommendations of a three-member panel of senior Interior Department officials that found the agency did not move quickly enough to correct some scientific information related to Florida panthers and disseminated some uncorrected documents."

Wikipedia contains a succinct summary of the Florida panther DQA petition and controversy:

"The Florida panther has been at the center of a controversy over the science used to manage the species. There has been strong disagreement between scientists about the location and nature of critical habitat. This in turn is linked to a dispute over management which involves property developers and environmental organisations. Recovery agencies appointed a panel of four experts, the Florida Panther Scientific Review Team (SRT), to evaluate the soundness of the body of work used to guide panther recovery. The SRT identified serious problems in panther literature, including miscitations and misrepresentation of data to support unsound conclusions. A Data Quality Act (DQA) complaint brought by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and Andrew Eller, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), was successful in demonstrating that agencies continued to use incorrect data after it had been clearly identified as such. As a result of the DQA ruling, USFWS admitted errors in the science the agency was using and subsequently reinstated Eller, who had been fired by USFWS after filing the DQA complaint."

There is no reason to believe that FWS would have "admitted errors in the science the agency was using" but for the Data Quality Act and a government scientist with the courage to use it.

  • Click here for FWS Florida Panther website
  • Click here for Wikipedia entry