National Research Council Defends Decision to Force Resignation of Respected Scientist from Bay-Delta Committee

In a letter (PDF) dated May 25, 2010 and sent to Secretaries Salazar and Locke of the Departments of the Interior and Commerce, respectively, Stephen Parker of the National Research Council's Water Science and Technology Board explained the National Research Council's decision to force the resignation of Dr. Pat Glibert of the University of Maryland.

The forced resignation is extraordinary in light of the National Research Council's Policy on Composition and Balance and Conflicts of Interest for Committees Used in the Development of Reports (which explicitly acknowledges that it is not uncommon for committee members to find that their own published and professional work is part of the technical basis and literature for the committee) and past practice.

In response to the resignations, Congressmen Costa and Cardoza sent a letter (PDF) dated May 28, 2010, expressing concerns over the resignations of Dr. Glibert and Dr. McGuire and seeking "an objective, comprehensive analysis of all of the factors that have limited the abundance of listed fish species in the Delta and have resulted in a significant decrease in the San Joaquin Valley’s water supply."  A press release that accompanied the letter states "Congressmen Jim Costa and Dennis Cardoza demanded answers from the National Academy of Sciences to explain why a scientist whose findings question the validity of federal water policy was removed from the panel examining the factors degrading the health of the Bay-Delta and solutions to the region’s water challenges."

In addition, in a letter (PDF) dated June 1, 2010, the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, Kern County Water Agency, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and Westlands Water District expressed concerns about the resignations, arguing that they raise "serious questions regarding the integrity of the Committee and its work."

  • Paul S. Weiland

    Paul Weiland is Assistant Managing Partner and a member of the Environment & Land Use Group. He has represented clients – including public agencies, publicly regulated utilities, corporations, trade associations and ...

Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog focuses on news, events, and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States. Topics include listing and critical habitat decisions, conservation and recovery planning, inter-agency consultation, and related developments in law, policy, and science. We also inform readers about regulatory and legislative developments, as well as key court decisions.

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