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Scientist Can't Study Song Bird, Agencies Say

Dr. Peter Stacey of the University of New Mexico had sought permission from both agencies to conduct the research in order to understand how important the Rio Grande at the headwaters of Elephant Butte reservoir is to the Southwest willow flycatcher.

In an effort to prevent information from coming to light about the potential importance of a highly controversial area along the Rio Grande to the endangered Southwest willow flycatcher, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife have prevented an independent scientist from conducting research on the bird. Five environmental groups, including WildEarth Guardians, asked Senator Bingaman on 7/21/2005 to investigate the denial, claiming the agencies asserted false legal responsibility for the incidental harm that could occur when studying the birds as a pretext for denying the required permits. The groups also asserted their concern that independent, non-politicized research is vital to an understanding of how best to protect the species and restore the Rio Grande

Click to read the letter to Senator Bingaman (PDF)7/21/05


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