Interior just flat out killed this oyster farm and its jobs by using misleading science and ignoring economic impacts, Vitter said. The most ironic part about the Drakes Bay permit is that the Interior official, Mary Kendall, who should have been investigating the allegations of scientific misconduct, is under investigation herself for involvement in a separate issue involving faulty science used to implement the drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The Drakes Bay Oyster Co. is on federal lands and part of a controversial scientific review by the National Park Service and the administration. In April, Dr. Corey Goodman, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, filed a Scientific Misconduct Complaint with the Department of Interior.
And concerning Dr. Goodman's complaint, Greenwire reported earlier this year:National Park Service “selectively presented, over-interpreted, or misrepresented the available scientific information on potential impacts of the oyster mariculture operation” (p. 53).
the Academy’s finding regarding the “lack of strong scientific evidence that shellfish farming has major adverse ecological effects on Drakes Estero at the current levels of production and under current operational practices.” (p. 5)
“gave an interpretation of science that exaggerated the negative and overlooked potentially beneficial effects of the oyster culture operation” (p. 53)“selectively presents harbor seal survey data in Drakes Estero and over-interprets the disturbance data which are incomplete and non-representative of the full spectrum of disturbance activities in the estero” (p. 2)Researchers also found that the Park Service had “no acknowledgement of the historical baselines of the natural ecosystem before humans caused the functional elimination of the native Olympia oyster in Drakes Estero during the mid 1800s to early 1900s” (p. 58). This is important because Olympia oysters “were part of the historical ecological baseline condition of Drakes Estero” and could have played a “significant role in the biogeochemical processes of the estero” (p. 5), performing the same functions for water clarity and nutrient fixing provided by the oysters cultured in the Estero today. If the Park Service forces the cessation of the mariculture operations, it may well be eliminating conditions that were an important part of the ecosystem as it existed long before the park was established.
The Interior Department's inspector general appears likely to join the growing scrutiny over whether the National Park Service falsified data in an environmental review of a California oyster farm. Scientific integrity officials at Interior -- which houses NPS -- are already reviewing allegations that officials purposely misled the public by using 17-year-old data from New Jersey police boats to represent sound levels at the farm. The numbers appeared in a draft environmental impact statement that NPS developed to help determine whether to renew the farm's lease in a national wilderness area (Greenwire, March 27). But yesterday, scientist Corey Goodman submitted a formal complaint to Interior IG Mary Kendall, asserting that the Park Service "should not be involved with an investigation of itself." In recent weeks, he said, NPS Scientific Integrity Officer Gary Machlis restricted access to sound files from a microphone that was placed near the farm in 2009 and 2010. That data was used in a study referenced in the draft EIS. The case is one of the first to test Interior's new scientific integrity policy, which stipulates that investigations into scientific misconduct be handled by a Scientific and Scholarly Integrity Review Panel. The policy directs cases of fraud, waste and abuse to the IG. In his letter yesterday to the IG, Goodman asserts that the oyster farm complaint "goes beyond scientific misconduct and involves fraud." He also references a letter Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) sent last month that called the draft EIS "deceptive and potentially fraudulent"