On October 13, 2011, the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing on the nexus of science and policy related to the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  According to a press release issued by the House, the purpose of the hearing was to "highlight how science is used in policy decisions that are made under [the ESA]."  The witnesses at the hearing were:

  • Mr. Gary Frazer, Assistant Director, Endangered Species, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • The Honorable Craig Manson, General Counsel, Westlands Water District
  • Mr. Douglas Vincent-Lang, Senior Biologist, Alaska Department of Fish and Game
  • Dr. Neal Wilkins, Director, Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources
  • Mr. Jonathan Adler, Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
  • Dr. Francesca T. Grifo, Senior Scientist and Director, Scientific Integrity Program, Union of Concerned Scientists

The testimony of the witnesses is available here.  At the hearing, Mr, Frazier who heads the endangered species program at the Fish and Wildlife Service, told lawmakers the Department of the Interior would hire independent experts to evaluate a finding of bad faith made with respect to the conduct of two Department scientists by a federal district court judge in a case involving the Service’s 2008 biological opinion regarding the effects of the Central Valley Project and California State Water Project on the threatened delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus).  (E&E News, Oct. 13, 2011, by Allison Winter.)  We reported on the court’s finding here and here.