Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon introduced legislation today that would require greater weight be given to field-tested and scientifically reviewed data when making decisions under the Endangered Species Act.
“The Sound Science for Endangered Species Decision-making Act of 2002” is identical to legislation introduced by Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon in 2001.
“Decisions based on faulty assumptions exacted a tremendous human toll on farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Basin last year,” Smith said. “Many families lost their farms and others lost most of their income while depleting their life savings to hold onto their land. We should never allow junk science to cause this kind of destruction again,” he said.
This week the National Academy of Sciences found that key decisions regarding the operation of the federal Klamath Project had no clear scientific or technical support. In fact, the Academy went so far as to conclude that “there is no substantial scientific foundation at this time for changing the operation of the Klamath Project to maintain higher water levels in Upper Klamath Lake for endangered sucker populations or higher minimum flows in the Klamath River main stem for threatened coho salmon populations.”