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House Resource Committee Probes Contaminated Lynx Study

Friday, March 22, 2002

On March 6, the House Resources Committee, Chaired by U.S. Representative James Hansen (R-Utah), heard testimony on the scandal surrounding the National Lynx Study—a study tainted by officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and Washington State`s Department of Fish & Wildlife when they were reported to have planted evidence. The study—which could impact 15 states and 57 national parks—seeks to determine whether there are populations of Canada Lynx living in the United States and whether they should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The controversy centers around three hair samples clipped from a captured lynx that were planted in three separate areas of the study area within Washington State. Two of the areas had never been known to have a lynx population. These samples were then submitted to the lab at the University of Montana as study data for DNA testing. When questioned as to why they planted these illegitimate samples, the biologists involved claimed that they did not trust the lab, and that they were simply "testing" the facility. The University`s lab director indicated that there was no justification for the biologists to "test" his lab or his methodology.

But while federal studies often have protocols that allow for blind testing of labs, the researchers did not follow what the National Lynx Study had proscribed for testing lab methodology. Furthermore, while the researchers claimed they intended to tell the lab of the false samples, the lab was never notified, and the study did not provide a vehicle or opportunity for such notification. Once the false samples were delivered to the lab and confirmed to be lynx hairs, those samples would become a part of the survey. We may never know the true motivation of the researchers, or their true intentions, but we do know their questionable actions were not brought to light until one scientist involved reported this information to a superior the day before his retirement.

U.S. Representative Scott McInnis (R-Colo.) was the standard-bearer for scientific integrity during the hearings, but several lawmakers weighed in to try to determine what may have led researchers to act so outrageously. U.S. Representative Greg Waldon (R-Ore.) likened the actions of the biologists to that of a U.S. Congressman who, after being caught accepting bribes from undercover FBI agents during the ABSCAM investigation begun in the late 70s, claimed he was conducting his own private "study." Rep. McInnis was just as harsh, comparing what the researchers did to a corrupt police officer who plants evidence in order to secure a conviction.

While the study will continue, and has been adjusted to account for the fraudulent samples, the reckless and possibly criminal actions of these scientists could have jeopardized the public use of millions of acres of land in the northern United States. NRA applauds the actions of the Resource Committee thus far, and NRA-ILA Executive Director James Jay Baker sent a letter of thanks to Reps. Hansen and McInnis for leading this effort. Baker also expressed NRA`s support for punishing those involved with creating this controversy, writing, " you in your efforts to ensure that punishment of the researchers is commensurate with their actions. Appropriate punishment of those involved will send a clear message that the federal government cannot and will not tolerate irresponsible behavior, especially when the public use of our nation`s natural resources hangs in the balance." We will be sure to report any additional developments on this front, and we anticipate that there could be additional hearings still to come.



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Appropriations Act Signed Into Law With Important Pro-Second Amendment Provisions

On Wednesday, November 25, the President signed S. 1356, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 into law. Included in the bill were some very important pro-gun provisions that represent the culmination of long-term efforts by ...


Friday, May 15, 2015

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Gun Laws  

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Friday, November 27, 2015

President Obama Signs NRA-Backed Measures into Law

President Barack Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It includes several NRA-backed provisions -- expanding gun rights on stateside military bases; prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from banning traditional ammunition; and saving taxpayer dollars ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

Anti-gun Politicians, Media Exploit Paris Attacks in “Terrorist Gap” Rehash

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Brussels Pushes Gun Control in Wake of Paris Attacks

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Overwhelming 81 Percent of Current and Former Military have Unfavorable View of Clinton

More bad news for Hillary Clinton. Coming off the heels of survey results that found the former Secretary ...

Washington Times  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

White House to GOP: Worry about gun control

The White House said Monday that Republicans concerned about Syrian refugees waging terrorist attacks in the U.S. should focus their energy instead on banning guns sales to people on the government’s terrorist watch list.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Michigan: Governor Snyder Signs Firearm Inheritance Protection Act

Today, November 24, Governor Rick Snyder (R) signed Senate Bills 225 and 226.


Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.