After The Bee published reporter Tom Knudson’s series on the federal government’s predator control program, two U.S. congressmen — Reps. John Campbell, R-Calif., and Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. — have said they plan to ask the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to investigate.
They point to waste of federal dollars and harm to ecosystems, as well as secretiveness about USDA Wildlife Services practices and spending.
Yes, Congress should investigate.
And Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar ought to establish an advisory committee to make recommendations on a new policy for predator control — including proposals to return Wildlife Services to the Department of the Interior, which has a mission to manage healthy ecosystems.
Immediately, Vilsack ought to make Wildlife Services contracts a matter of public record — as well as money received from states, counties, cities, livestock businesses and individual farmers and ranchers to control predators. Two-thirds of Wildlife Services spending comes from these “cooperators,” one-third from the federal government.
All of it should be public.
The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee (May 30)