ACSH Instrumental In Upcoming Supreme Court Case On FWS Land Grab

The American Council on Science and Health was cited as vital science outreach in making a Louisiana land grab for a frog from another state a SCOTUS issue
 
 
Mississippi gopher frog
Mississippi gopher frog
 
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NEW YORK - Jan. 30, 2018 - PRLog -- Last week, the  Supreme Court agreed to take up a case involving the Mississippi gopher frog, of which 100 exist in Mississippi and were declared endangered as part of a settlement with environmental trial lawyers.

That it only exists in Mississippi is why it was odd that the federal government engaged in an unprecedented land grab and agreed that the best habitat for restoration was in Louisiana - and told the landowners they would have to tear down their existing forest and put up a new one suitable for the frog, at a cost of up to $36 million.

"It set up alarm bells for us when this happened, but it was obviously a matter for the courts," said Hank Campbell, President of the American Council on Science and Health, the nation's premier pro-science consumer advocacy non-profit. "Once an appeals court ruled with the government we had to take action. This whole process began as part of a "sue-and-settle" agreement between the government and the trial lawyer group Center for Biological Diversity, which has unfortunately been all too common, but it went out of control to where it has to be settled in the land's highest court, and we look forward to submitting an amicus brief."

To find answers, the American Council on Science and Health called the "consultant" that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service used to make the determination, but Industrial Economics, Inc. of Massachusetts refused to answer any questions. So ACSH did a Freedom of Information Act request. The documents revealed that there was no scientific basis for the decision, and economic hardship was dismissed as "insignificant." Landowners were blindsided to find that a junior economist at a consulting group in Boston which works solely for the government had manufactured a justification that would result in making Fish and Wildlife Service the most powerful agency in America.

"That was our concern," said Campbell, who is also on the science advisory board of Atlantic Legal Foundation, which will be submitting a brief. "This made Waters of the United States and EPA's capricious rules on particulate matter look like rigorous Constitutional scholarship. If this is allowed to stand, environmental groups can file lawsuits during times when their political allies are in power, the government can pick any landowner in America and then target them by declaring they will put an endangered species in there. That is what happened here."

Those interested can read more about the Council's work stopping this kind of politicization of science here:

https://www.acsh.org/news/2017/11/17/endangered-species-a...

https://www.acsh.org/news/2017/10/19/if-endangered-species-act-doesnt-adapt-it-will-go-extinct-11985

http://www.science20.com/hank_campbell/the_supreme_court_could_make_the_endangered_species_act_the_most_powerful_law_in_america_by_doing_nothing-228089

The American Council on Science and Health (http://acsh.org) has offices in New York City and Washington, D.C. and educates the public on science and health issues. Their Advisory Board of 300 scientists and doctors has consisted of luminaries from famed Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop to John Higginson, the first Director of the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), to Dr. Don Henderson, the man credited for eliminating smallpox. As the Wall Street Journal phrased it, "ACSH knows the difference between a health scare and a health threat."

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Erik Lief
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