Two former Bureau of Land Management employees have come forward with allegations that Bush admin officials have removed statements from a scientific report they produced that would have been damaging to the interests of a Buscho affinity group:

The Bush administration altered critical portions of a scientific analysis of the environmental impact of cattle grazing on public lands before announcing relaxed grazing limits on those lands, according to scientists involved in the study.

A government biologist and a hydrologist, who both retired this year from the Bureau of Land Management, said their conclusions that the proposed rules might adversely affect water quality and wildlife, including endangered species, were excised and replaced with language justifying less-stringent regulations favored by cattle ranchers.

The rape and pillage of America continues unabated….

Grazing regulations, which affect 160 million acres of public land in 11 Western states, set the conditions under which ranchers may use that land, and guide government managers in determining how many cattle may graze, where, and for how long without harming resources.

The original draft of the environmental analysis warned that the new rules would have a “significant adverse impact” on wildlife, but that phrase was removed. The BLM now concludes that the grazing regulations are “beneficial to animals.”

Eliminated from the final draft was another conclusion that read: “The Proposed Action will have a slow, long-term adverse impact on wildlife and biological diversity in general.”

Also removed was language saying how the rules changes could affect endangered species adversely.

“This is a whitewash; they took all of our science and reversed it 180 degrees,” said Erick Campbell, a former BLM state biologist in Nevada and a 30-year BLM employee who retired this year. Campbell wrote sections of the report pertaining to impacts on wildlife and threatened and endangered species. “They rewrote everything. It’s a crime,” he said.

Former BLM hydrologist Bill Brookes, who assessed the rules’ impact on water resources, said in the original draft that the proposed rule change is “an abrogation of (BLM’s) responsibility under the Clean Water Act.”

“Everything I wrote was totally rewritten and watered down,” Brookes said Thursday. “Everything in the report that was purported to be negative was watered down. Instead of saying, in the long term, this will create problems, it now says, in the long term, grazing is the best thing since sliced bread.”

Campbell and Brookes were among more than a dozen BLM specialists who contributed to the environmental-impact statement (EIS). The others could not be reached or did not return calls seeking comment.

Ranchers hailed the rules.

I don’t know what more to say really.  This is just another in the long chain of acts of malfeasance perpetrated by the Bush crime family against the American people in service of their special interests.  They invested in Bush and expect a return on investment.  In so many ways they are getting that return.  Their short sightedness will catch up to them, and us, someday.

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