I am writing to you today as a deeply disconcerted American citizen. Recently, it has been made available to the public, that approximately 90 proclaimed scientists have signed on to a letter drafted by Audubon North Carolina. This letter can be found at Web site
The letter solicited signers to add their support in asking the National Park Service (NPS) during their current development of an Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Management Regulation for Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area (CHNSRA), to adopt the "highest degree of protection" listed in the US Geological Survey's (USGS) management protocols that include full year round closure to all recreation, both ORV and pedestrians, of Bodie Island Spit, Cape Point, South Beach, Hatteras Spit, North Ocracoke and South Ocracoke.
As stated, CHNSRA Management is currently formulating an ORV Management Regulation plan in accordance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other regulations which requires a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The DEIS has not yet been made available for public review. In addition, CHNSRA is currently being managed under a controversial, extremely public sensitive Federal Court ordered Consent Decree Agreement, in which, Audubon North Carolina is a plaintiff until a final ORV Management Regulation is approved.
Many of the co-signers of this Non-Governmental Organization letter have endorsed and associated their name with reference to a Federal Agency and/or Title. These actions by Federal employees has created an appearance and clear sign of who they are partial to, indicates they have lost independence, and has made me lose confidence in the integrity of the United States Government, specifically United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Some endorsing Federal employees hold either Supervisory or Senior Management positions, which has left me the impression that they have great influence on subordinate employees and that these actions indicate the respective agencies' position on this matter. In my review, these actions are in clear violation of Standards of Ethical Conduct Provisions, 5 CFR Part 2635. Specifically, misuse of position, use of official title, and endorsements. The actions by these Federal employee endorser’s are infuriating and insulting to the public and legal residents of Bodie, Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.
Furthermore, In 2004, NPS asked USGS to recommend management protocols that would provide technical advice in the form of options for managing protected species at the seashore. The protocols were released to the public in October, 2005. The protocols are currently available on the CHNSRA Interim Protected Species Management Strategy Web site at
Since their release, the protocols have been touted by environmental Non-Governmental Organizations and Law Firms as the “best available science,” for the reason and justification with regards to the precedent setting extensive closures that have denied thousands of citizens ORV and foot access to many popular beaches at CHNSRA. That claim needs to be examined closely. The USGS protocols were simply accepted at face value. There has been no public record that the protocols, which have been the source of precedent setting closures under the Federal Court ordered Consent Decree Agreement at CHNSRA, have been officially peer reviewed following USGS peer review policy. The USGS Peer Review Policy Web site at
These unethical actions by Federal employees raises serious questions and possible legal implications that need to be addressed by the Federal Government immediately, specifically, Department of the Interior (DOI).
1) Is this DOI and subordinate agencies' stance on this matter?
2) Does the DOI condone this type of action from it’s employees including from the subordinate agencies'?
3) Is this common practice for DOI and subordinate agencies' employees to endorse Non-Governmental Organization solicited letters when there is current on-going Court Ordered Consent Agreement litigation against the Federal Government outstanding?
4) Is this a common practice for DOI and subordinate agencies' to make public comment on Non-Governmental Organization solicited letters when a extreme public sensitive NEPA process DEIS is currently being developed and not yet available for public review?
5) Is this common practice for DOI and subordinate agencies' to publically endorse non-peer reviewed protocols on Non-Governmental Organization solicited letters?
6) How many more instance of this type of unethical practice throughout the DOI and subordinate agencies' are taking place, or is this an isolated case?