Wildlife Director Traps Employees in Ethics Catch-22, Violates Own Code

The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility — an organization that has done yeoman’s work exposing the Bush administration’s political manipulation, corruption, and stifling of the thousands of scientists who attempt to serve the public interest with integrity — today highlighted the ethical conundrum facing scientists currently serving under Fish & Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall.

The Fish & Wildlife Service Scientific Code of Professional Responsibility states:

Disseminate scientific information to the scientific community and the public to promote understanding and appreciation for fish and wildlife and their habitats.

Compare that to Director Hall’s internal “guidance” to employees:

[I]t is imperative that all documents, assessments and drafts remain inside the Service, except for discussions as appropriate with recognized federal and state peers.

Hall is now under investigation by the Interior Inspector General for possibly violating the Scientific Code by repeatedly missing Endangered Species Act deadlines to list the polar bear, despite clear scientific guidance.


PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch asks: “How can we expect scientists to obey a code of conduct that their director ignores?”