I am reporting below a note that was posted to the Animal Behavior Society
mailing list. I hope it will be of interest to some of you.
heisthen at mbl.edu
WILDLIFE RESEARCH THREATENED BY CONGRESS
The research capability of the US Department of the Interior (DoI)
is threatened severely by impending Congressional action. The
National Biological Survey (NBS), which contains the Cooperative
Wildlife Research Units and most of the wildlife-related science
and research expertise in the DoI, has been targeted for
elimination. The NBS is especially at risk because it has not yet
been formally authorized by Congress. The transfer of scientists
from Interior agencies and bureaus to NBS was accomplished
administratively. Leaders in Congress have stated that they do not
intend to appropriate funds in areas that are not authorized.
Wildlife professionals are extremely concerned about this because
the House leadership's Contract With America and with its associated
appendix identifies the National Biological Survey as a target for
elimination by tax cut. This Draconian action is rationalized
under the false assumption that actions of the agency will lead to
increased regulation and loss in private property values due to the
location of endangered species and delineation of wetlands.
The Congress intends to carry out the tax cut through a recision of
funds in the current budget. The NBS is one of many bureaus and
programs targeted for elimination or severe modification. Budget
recision hearings may occur as early as the first week in January
1995. In addition, specific budget cutting proposals for 1996 will
be ready by the second week of January.
Wildlife professionals and others who support scientific research
are contacting their congressional delegations and explaining the
importance of maintaining a strong research and science capability
within the Department of the Interior. They also are contacting
the office of Rep. Ralph Regula (R-OH) because Mr. Regula chairs
the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee that will be
considering these budget proposals.
If you require additional information, please contact Tom Franklin
at The Wildlife Society headquarters. Email: tws at clark.net