Published May 2013
Remember Ronald Reagan’s “trust, but verify” quote he used to describe the relationship with the former Soviet Union? Unfortunately, today, that same guiding principle is required of our own government.
Federal agencies are making policy decisions based on, and consistently using, false, inflated, faulty, manipulated, biased and, in some cases, artificial and manufactured data and science.
In an attempt to scale back this prejudiced practice, Congress enacted the Information Quality Act (IQA) in December 2000, by adding a two-paragraph provision buried in an appropriations bill. The legislation applied to every federal agency that is subject to the Paper Reduction Act of 1980, which basically means every agency including the office of the President.
The purpose of the IQA is to ensure that federal agencies use and disseminate accurate information. Specifically, it requires each federal agency to issue information quality guidelines ensuring the quality, utility, objectivity and integrity of information that they disseminate and provide mechanisms for affected persons to correct such information.
For those of us fighting for private property rights against agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) over endangered species, the ability to provide and demand credible science has become a game-changer.
Federal Agencies Often Try to Make Policy Based on Flawed Science–We Need to Call Them on Their Assertions, Ask for Proof
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) under Section 1533 (b)(1)(A) requires the Secretary of Interior to make determinations for endangered or threatened species “solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available…after taking into account those efforts…being made by any State…or any political subdivision of a State…”
There are two critical parts to this ESA section that need to be focused upon – the “best scientific and commercial data available” and “after taking into account.”
American Stewards of Liberty is a nonprofit, private property rights organization that has figured out how to use many federal land use-type laws to the benefit of landowners and local governments. In fact, we worked with eight counties and the Permian Basin Petroleum Association to stop the Service from listing a three-inch lizard as endangered and defend the private property rights of all those in a two million-acre region in Texas and New Mexico.