Article

Idaho Fish and Game official demoted after letter

David Parrish, reassigned from Magic Valley regional supervisor to Boise as fisheries program coordinator, wrote in a letter to The Times-News on July 6 that the 185-turbine China Mountain wind farm "will have negative repercussions on Idaho's wildlife." "It's a no-brainer - the footprint of a project that will cover prime habitat (for) sage grouse, mule deer, antelope and other sagebrush dependent species," Parrish wrote.

A state Fish and Game Department supervisor has been demoted a month after warning that a proposed $500 million wind farm in southern Idaho will harm wildlife.

David Parrish, reassigned from Magic Valley regional supervisor to Boise as fisheries program coordinator, wrote in a letter to The Times-News on July 6 that the 185-turbine China Mountain wind farm "will have negative repercussions on Idaho's wildlife."

"It's a no-brainer - the footprint of a project that will cover prime habitat (for) sage grouse, mule deer, antelope and other sagebrush dependent species," Parrish wrote.

State House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, and Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, said the letter violated Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's policy on state officials speaking publicly without prior clearance from the governor's office.

Bedke told The Times-News he contacted Otter because he was concerned that Parrish was voicing an opinion too early in the environmental assessment phase of the project.

"As someone who watches those issues and reads the newspaper every day, front to back, I saw that and thought 'Hmm, this seems inconsistent with the directive that came from the governor's office' and it... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

A state Fish and Game Department supervisor has been demoted a month after warning that a proposed $500 million wind farm in southern Idaho will harm wildlife.

David Parrish, reassigned from Magic Valley regional supervisor to Boise as fisheries program coordinator, wrote in a letter to The Times-News on July 6 that the 185-turbine China Mountain wind farm "will have negative repercussions on Idaho's wildlife."

"It's a no-brainer - the footprint of a project that will cover prime habitat (for) sage grouse, mule deer, antelope and other sagebrush dependent species," Parrish wrote.

State House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, and Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, said the letter violated Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's policy on state officials speaking publicly without prior clearance from the governor's office.

Bedke told The Times-News he contacted Otter because he was concerned that Parrish was voicing an opinion too early in the environmental assessment phase of the project.

"As someone who watches those issues and reads the newspaper every day, front to back, I saw that and thought 'Hmm, this seems inconsistent with the directive that came from the governor's office' and it already seems like a conclusion was drawn here," Bedke said.

Fish and Game Deputy Director Virgil Moore confirmed to the newspaper that the letter contributed to Parrish's demotion, which was ordered Monday. He said there were other factors in the decision but would not elaborate, calling it a confidential personnel matter.

Mark Warbis, a spokesman for the governor, notified state employees by e-mail in April that they should alert him about news interviews on potentially controversial issues. The e-mail didn't mention letters to newspapers.

Parrish has declined to comment.

Carl Nellis, who retired as a fish and game regional supervisor in 2000, said the demotion set a bad precedent.

"In this case it looks like a couple of politicians are in charge of personnel," he said. "The big fallout from this (is) the rest of the folks in the agency are afraid to open their mouths because they're afraid they'll be next."

Moore said legislators also contacted agency Director Cal Groen and members of the Fish and Game Commission.

"I know that commissioners and the director himself were contacted by legislators, but it had no influence on my recommendations and interactions with Dave on this particular matter," Moore said.

 


Source: http://www.idahostatesman.c...

AUG 7 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/16384-idaho-fish-and-game-official-demoted-after-letter
back to top