Protecting Wildlife Comes at a Big Price for Whistleblower
PEER has filed an appeal before the U.S. Merit Systems Board in the case of Walter Loewen, a military veteran who had been an analyst with the Wyoming office of the Bureau of Land Management. The case will be a litmus test for the BLM’s efforts to create a new culture within the agency.
Many environmentalists and advocates of good government had high hopes that the Biden administration would right some of the personnel wrongs created under the previous administration. For Loewen, and other whistleblowers like EPA’s Dr. Ruth Etzel, that has not been the case.
Loewen’s case highlights the pro-oil and gas industry’s dysfunction within the BLM’s Wyoming state office. Loewen had objected to senior officials for not addressing major adverse impacts on migratory birds, such as the loss of nesting sites for ferruginous hawks, kestrels, owls, and other raptors, under a plan for 5,000 oil and gas wells, 1,400 miles of gas and water pipelines, new roads, and electrical lines in Converse County. BLM compounded those concerns by removing key restrictions on drilling and other work during bird breeding and nesting periods.
In another irony, BLM is using anti-civil service policies implemented under the Trump administration to remove Loewen – policies that the Biden administration has rescinded.
Unfortunately, despite the Biden administration’s promise to protect whistleblowers and adhere to scientific integrity, our federal whistleblower docket remains full, with clients from agencies such as the Navy, the Department of Interior, and EPA.
Given everything going on around us today, now is the time to reward those who defend our health and the environment, not punish them. That’s why we are pushing forward.
The Conowingo Dam is the single largest threat to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. A decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the state of Maryland to license the dam for the next 50 years with minimal conditions not only threatens the Chesapeake Bay, but also undermines the public’s trust in governmental decision-making. Check out this short video from watermen of the Chesapeake Bay and PEER about what we are doing to address dangers from this dam. Watch the Video»