Paul Houser Ph.D.

Houser Ph.D.

Scientist Paul R. Houser, Ph.D. speaks to farmer Mike King

on May 6, 2012 in Klamath Falls after a meeting

http://pioneer.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODE/HeraldandNews/

Klamath science-informed process needs improvement

By Dr. Paul R. Houser, Guest writer, Herald and News 7/15/12

In April 2011, I was hired as the Bureau of Reclamation’s science adviser and scientific integrity officer. After I questioned the accuracy of science reporting and summary documents related to the Klamath Secretarial Decision, I faced systematic reprisal and my job as the Bureau of Reclamation’s science advisor was terminated.

Subsequently, I filed a scientific integrity allegation, and was invited to speak publicly about it in May 2012. I was confronted with a very wide range of questions, where I carefully offered my opinion or relevant information. Recently, Mr. Dennis Lynch (USGS) questioned some of this information. Below I summarize the rationale for my comments, and offer some additional perspective (full text available at http://prhouser.com/houser/?p=830).

■ Mr. Lynch states that “our team summarized these findings in an overview report that received a second layer peer review from six independent experts.” He fails to mention the peer review comment 3-5: “The Summary and Findings section does not sufficiently express the uncertainties in the responses to restoration options” which is generally consistent with my allegation. These concerns should be addressed by writing a new summary that accurately portrays the dam removal uncertainties and risks, and the additional actions that will be needed to meet the environmental and societal goals.

■ Mr. Lynch disagrees with my comment that a more in-depth engineering analysis is needed to assure that Iron Gate Dam is removed safely. My comment was based on an environmental impact statement/environmental impact report comment submitted by Stephen Koshy, who warned that notching the earth-filled Iron Gate Dam may cause it to fail. This concern can be addressed by providing a public response to Mr. Koshy along with the relevant engineering analyses.

■ Mr. Lynch disagrees with my comment that the sediment coming out of the dams would be the equivalent volume of one to three feet covering 190 miles of a 150-foot-wide channel. The sediment volume studies have discrepancies, but my volume equivalency calculations are correct. Further, the draft EIS/EIR states: “Short-term (two-year) aggradation of sediment from the dams could be substantial below Iron Gate Dam downstream to Willow Creek, with up to 5 feet of deposition within 0.5 miles downstream of the dam, to 1.5 feet of deposition near Willow Creek.” Downstream impacts of sediment are a significant concern, so alternate options such as dredging may also need to be more seriously considered.

■ Mr. Lynch disagrees with my concerns that the released sediments may be harmful to fish, and may have a significant impact for one to two years. The draft EIS/EIR states “… the short-term (<2 years following dam removal) increases in SSCs [suspended sediment] in the lower Klamath River and the Klamath Estuary would be a significant impact.”

■ Water quality and reservoir sedimentation in the Klamath Basin are very complex issues. While a 2011 Department of Interior report did show that the reservoir sediments have toxic elements below most guidelines, the Upper Basin is well known to have water and sediment quality issues, and these sediments are being deposited in the reservoirs. A 2006 PacifiCorp study concludes that the absence of the project reservoirs would exacerbate water quality impairment by reducing dissolved oxygen and promoting growth of algae. Water quality issues above the PacifiCorp dams may be amongst the most significant risks to successful river restoration; these water quality issues should be mitigated prior to dam removal.

■ Finally, Mr. Lynch objects to my statement that non-native coho salmon were introduced in the Klamath starting in 1895. A California Department of Fish and Game’s 2002 report confirms my statement and further indicates that “historically, the practice of importing non-native fish was common …” The draft EIS/EIR also states that “the vast majority of coho salmon that spawn in the Klamath Basin are believed to be of hatchery origin, although the percentage varies among years.” Based on the century-long history of non-native salmon transfers and hatchery origin fish, it would be tough to identify a truly native wild Klamath coho. Nonetheless, it is the law to protect them.

The outcomes of dam removal on this scale and in this unique environment have significant risks and uncertainties. A positive outcome is not guaranteed and a tragic outcome is possible.

There are several innovative and economical solutions to meet the Klamath Basin goals that are not being actively considered because they fall outside the politics of the Klamath agreements. It is in the public trust, and a duty of scientific integrity to seriously consider these alternatives.

My goal is to make sure that decision makers are aware of these risks and uncertainties, and account for them in their decision-making process. By only reporting the positive aspects of dam removal without the uncertainties and additional needed mitigation, the meaning of the science is perturbed, which may lead to poor decisions.

The author

Dr. Paul R. Houser served as the Bureau of Reclamation’s scientific integrity adviser on a review of the possible removal of four Klamath River dams. He is a hydrologist with over 25 years of experience. More information can be found at http://www.prhouser.com.

Editor’s Note

Editor’s note: This commentary was written in response to one printed last month from Dennis Lynch, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, which was printed in response to speeches given by Houser, including one in Klamath Falls. Houser contends he was fired for criticizing the review process used on the possible removal of Klamath River dams. Lynch is the lead federal scientist for the process.

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Klamath Science-Informed Decision Making Process Needs Improvement

Dr. Paul R. Houser, 20 June 2012

After I questioned the accuracy of science reporting and summary documents related to the Klamath Secretarial Decision, I faced systematic reprisal and my job as the Bureau of Reclamation’s science advisor was terminated. Subsequently, I filed a scientific integrity allegation, and was invited to speak publically about it in May 2012.  I was confronted with a very wide range of questions, where I carefully offered my opinion or relevant information. Last week Mr. Dennis Lynch  (USGS) questioned some of this information. Below I summarize the rationale for my comments, and offer some additional perspective (full text available at http://prhouser.com/houser/?p=830).

1)      Mr. Lynch states that “our team summarized these findings in an Overview Report that received a second layer peer review from six independent experts.”  He fails to mention the peer review comment 3-5: “The Summary and Findings section does not sufficiently express the uncertainties in the responses to restoration options” which is generally consistent with my allegation These concerns should be addressed by writing a new summary that accurately portrays the dam removal uncertainties and risks, and the additional actions that will be needed to meet the environmental and societal goals.

4)      Mr. Lynch disagrees with my comment that a more in-depth engineering analysis is needed to assure that Iron Gate Dam is removed safely.  My comment was based on an EIS/EIR comment submitted by Stephen Koshy, who warned that notching the earth-filled Iron Gate Dam may cause it to fail. This concern can be addressed by providing a public response to Mr. Koshy along with the relevant engineering analyses.

5)      Mr. Lynch disagrees with my comment that the sediment coming out of the dams would be the equivalent volume of one to three feet covering 190 miles of a 150 foot wide channel.  The sediment volume studies have discrepancies, but my volume equivalency calculations are correct. Further, the draft EIS/EIR states: “Short-term (2–yr) aggradation of sediment from the dams could be substantial below Iron Gate Dam downstream to Willow Creek, with up to 5 feet of deposition within 0.5 miles downstream of the dam, to 1.5 feet of deposition near Willow Creek.”  Downstream impacts of sediment are a significant concern, so alternate options such as dredging may also need to be more seriously considered.

6)      Mr. Lynch disagrees with my concerns that the released sediments may be harmful to fish, and may have a significant impact for 1-2 years.  The draft EIS/EIR states “…the short-term (<2 years following dam removal) increases in SSCs [suspended sediment] in the lower Klamath River and the Klamath Estuary would be a significant impact.” Water quality and reservoir sedimentation in the Klamath basin are very complex issues.  While a 2011 DOI report did show that the reservoir sediments have toxic elements below most guidelines, the upper basin is well known to have water and sediment quality issues, and these sediments are being deposited in the reservoirs.  A 2006 PacifiCorp study concludes that the absence of the project reservoirs would exacerbate water quality impairment by reducing dissolved oxygen and promoting growth of algae.  Water quality issues above the PacifiCorp dams may be amongst the most significant risks to successful river restoration; these water quality issues should be mitigated prior to dam removal.

7)      Finally, Mr. Lynch objects to my statement that nonnative coho salmon were introduced in the Klamath starting in 1895.  A California Department of Fish and Game’s 2002 report confirms my statement and further indicates that “historically, the practice of importing non-native fish was common…” The draft EIS/EIR also states that “the vast majority of coho salmon that spawn in the Klamath Basin are believed to be of hatchery origin, although the percentage varies among years.” Based on the century-long history of nonnative salmon transfers and hatchery origin fish, it would be tough to identify a truly native wild Klamath coho.  None-the less, it is the law to protect them.

The outcomes of dam removal on this scale and in this unique environment have significant risks and uncertainties. A positive outcome is not guaranteed and a tragic outcome is possible. There are several innovative and economical solutions to meet the Klamath Basin goals that are not being actively considered because they fall outside the politics of the Klamath agreements. It is in the public trust, and a duty of scientific integrity to seriously consider these alternatives. My goal is to make sure that decision makers are aware of these risks and uncertainties, and account for them in their decision-making process. By only reporting the positive aspects of dam removal without the uncertainties and additional needed mitigation, the meaning of the science is perturbed, which may lead to poor decisions.

Dr. Paul R. Houser is a Hydrologist with over 25 years of experience. Dr. Houser in an internationally recognized expert in local to global land surface-atmospheric remote sensing, in-situ observation and numerical simulation, development and application of hydrologic data assimilation methods, scientific integrity and policy, and global water and energy cycling. More information can be found at http://www.prhouser.com.

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Photo by Liz Bowen

Scientist Paul R. Houser Ph.D., center, visits with concerned citizens before he spoke May 7, 2012 to 300 interested folks in Yreka, CA. at the Siskiyou Golden Fairgrounds.

Dr. Paul R. Houser speaks May 7, 2012 – Yreka, CA.

Thank you Robert Exter of Redding Tea Party for this youtube video. It is much appreciated.  — Editor Liz Bowen

Cal-Ore Bi-State Alliance invited Dr. Houser out to the Klamath and Siskiyou area of the Klamath Basin to visit and speak May 5-9, 2012.

It was well worth the time for EVERYONE involved.

On May 7, 2012, renowned scientist, Paul R. Houser, Ph.D. spoke to 300 Siskiyou County citizens and explained why he filed a serious “whistleblower” complaint with the federal Office of Special Council after being “fired” by the federal Dept. of Interior.

What was the federal officials’ issue with Dr. Houser?

He questioned the PROCESS that was used to promote destruction of four hydro-electric dams on the Klamath River AND cited flawed science and politically-based conclusions regarding salmon restoration in the Klamath Basin.

In this video, Siskiyou Co. Sheriff Jon Lopey introduces Dr. Paul R. Houser to a crowd in Yreka, CA.

Before being fired, Dr. Houser was the top scientist in the federal government charged with “integrity review” of science projects within the Dept. of Interior.

Great video on the issues – click below !!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxmPSzDp9sw

Please check back as a PAGE will soon be dedicated to Dr. Houser on Pie N Politics.com

Also check out Dr. Houser’s website at:

www.prhouser.com

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Dr. Paul Houser: Curtis Knight attempted to obscure the facts – Yreka, CA – Siskiyou Daily News

http://www.siskiyoudaily.com/opinions/letters_to_the_editor/x358811225/Dr-Paul-Houser-Curtis-Knight-attempted-to-obscure-the-facts

Dr. Paul Houser: Curtis Knight attempted to obscure the facts

By Dr. Paul R. Houser, Associate Professor, George Mason University

Siskiyou Daily News

Letter to the Editor

May 31, 2012

Washington — For critical decisions such as dam removal, it is important to seek truth. Here I respond to Mr. Curtis Knight’s May 23 attempt to obscure the facts.

1) Mr. Knight claims that my allegation has evolved. My Feb. 24 scientific misconduct allegation is in writing and has not been modified, and my interviews have closely followed the written allegation. I have provided opinions when asked, but these do not represent changes in the allegation.

2) Mr. Knight claims that my suggestion of a less-extreme option of removing 1-2 dams was bizarre. This suggestion was made in the context of advocating exploration of a wide range of options to meet the objectives. Also note that the dam removal proposal is also only a partial solution, as it excludes the removal of the Keno and Link River dams.

3) Mr. Knight alleges that I am biased because I was paid by dam removal opponents. I have not been paid for my allegation or public speaking, and I do not hold financial interests in the Klamath Basin. Since the story went public, my philosophy has been to accept all interview and speaking requests.

4) Mr. Knight claims that I am not a fisheries biologist. This is correct, but I have earned a PhD in hydrology and water resources, and have a 25-year scientific career, with many awards and over 100 referred publications. I do have extensive experience in water research, observation, modeling, management and fisheries.

5) Mr. Knight claims that I am offering a “politically-driven opinion in place of science-driven decision making.” I have stated that I do not favor or oppose dam removal, and that my motivation is to be a champion for scientific integrity. Politics has no place in scientific integrity.

7) Mr. Knight states that the dams offer no irrigation function, degrade water quality and offer no flood control functions. A recent hydrograph analysis shows that the dams help to regulate downstream flows and are actively used to help improve flows and temperature regimes for downstream fisheries. A 2006 PacifiCorp study shows that the dams help to improve water quality by increasing residence time and settling. By working with irrigators and fishery managers, the dams could be used even more effectively to enhance water quality, fisheries and agriculture. Unfortunately, these facts, as well as creative solutions, are not being actively considered.

8) Mr. Knight objects to my statement that dam removal is an uncontrolled experiment. If an experiment has more than one variable changing, or if there is no control, then it is uncontrolled. In the case of the proposed dam removal, there is no control and multiple independent variables are changing, so it is by definition an uncontrolled experiment.

9) Mr. Knight criticizes my assertion that scientists are often biased based on who they are paid by. I assert that funding is only one of the issues that cause science to be biased. The very questions and hypotheses that scientists study are often formulated to arrive at a predetermined outcome. For example, in 2010, California Trout commissioned a study to “estimate the economic benefits” of the KBRA. As one would expect with such a charge, the resulting report collated a number of economic benefits, while ignoring potential impacts to agriculture, land valuation, power production, etc. A better question could be asked that would give the public a real answer to the economic impact of dam removal. Unfortunately, scientific integrity issues run even deeper than this simple example. Decision makers often use science to support predetermined decisions rather than using science to help inform decisions. Decision makers, scientists and peer-reviewers may have conflicts of interest, and biased media reports can skew public understanding.

10) Mr. Knight concludes that dam removal is the preferred alternative for the Klamath River because the peer-review says it is. The panels conclude that removing the dams without addressing the water quality issues, reducing disease, enabling free migration to the upper basin, preventing hatchery salmon from not overwhelm spawning grounds, reducing predation to sufficiently low levels, accounting for climate change, addressing reductions in fall flows, and mitigating long-term sediment impacts, has a low chance for success.

Further, there are significant conflicts of interest in the peer-review panels, and the evolution of the expert panel reports from their draft to final forms highlights some significant outside influences.

The outcomes of dam removal on this scale and in this unique environment have significant risks and uncertainties. A positive outcome is not guaranteed and a tragic outcome is possible. Decision makers need to be aware of these risks and uncertainties, and account for them in their decision-making process. By only reporting the positive aspects of dam removal without the uncertainties and additional needed mitigation, the meaning of the science is perturbed, which may lead to poor decisions.

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Ridin’ Point

By Marcia H. Armstrong, Siskiyou County Supervisor – District 5

http://users.sisqtel.net/armstrng/

“Klamath Whistleblower” Part 1 of 2:

Recently, Paul Houser, Ph.D. met with the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors (BoS) to discuss the science of the Klamath dam removal studies. Houser has a degree in hydrology and is an expert in hydrometeorology. He is currently a Professor at George Mason University.  He was the Bureau of Reclamation’s (BoR) Science Advisor and his duties included advice on peer review and scientific integrity.

In September of 2011, Dr. Houser was asked to review a press release and summary of the dam removal science. In his review, he felt that the documents were biased and the science was being spun or manipulated to support dam removal. Houser commented that science informs decisions and decision-makers should get a realistic summary of the risks.

When he transmitted his concerns, he was advised not to create a document that would be discoverable by Congress or a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA.) It was also indicated that his disclosure was not welcome because the Secretary of Interior wanted the dams removed. It became clear to Dr. Houser that the decision to remove the dams had already been made and the science was being manipulated to support a predetermined outcome.

Despite making his concerns known in writing, they were never addressed. The press release was changed slightly, but not the summary of the science. The BoR recategorized his position as probationary and eliminated his travel, training and mentoring. In February 2012, his Supervisor gave him the option of resigning or being terminated. He chose the later and has filed a complaint raising issues of biased science and scientific integrity with the Inspector General for Whistleblower Protection. The following Monday, the Secretary of Interior delayed the anticipated announcement on his decision whether or not to remove the Klamath dams, stating that Congress had not yet passed legislation giving him the authority to do so.

Citing examples of manipulated science to the BoS, Houser pointed out that the dam removal EIS/EIR (Environmental Impact Statement/Report) claims an expected 81.4% increase in Chinook population. The expert scientific panel actually indicated an expected possible increase of as much as 10% in chinook spawners due to 10 different factors, including water quality and significant restoration work in the tributaries. The 81.4% figure came from an un-peer reviewed report by a contractor, which had a huge range of uncertainty.

When asked by the BoS about his opinion concerning dam removal, Houser pointed out core water quality and temperature issues in the Upper Klamath that were limiting factors to salmon. He also expressed concern about the impacts of the sediment flush. He said that he believed that removing the dams was at best – risky, and at worst – tragic. One of the real issues is that the BoR failed to consider logical alternatives to dam removal, such as truck and haul or the fish bypass. Also, his Supervisor had been a long time lobbyist for Trout Unlimited, which posed an ethical conflict of interest.

Houser talked about how paid science can reflect the purchaser’s agenda. The wording of a hypothesis given to a scientist by an agency drives the science and can result in bias if it fails to consider all the options.  The government’s failure to do social and economic impact analysis also leads to imbalanced decisions and the failure to recognize trade-offs.

He talked about his concerns over how the dams would be breached and the remaining slow release of eroded fine sediment that would affect the river for years afterward. According to Houser, the habitat in the Upper Basin is not even good habitat for salmon and steelhead. He agreed with Supervisor Kobseff that a trial test of released hatchery salmon in the Upper Basin would be a prudent experiment before removing the dams. Houser also agreed that truck and haul was not a radical alternative and that it was being used in other rivers.

State Responsibility Area (SRA) Fire Prevention Benefit Fee: There will be a hearing by the CA Board of Forestry on the proposed draft permanent State Responsibility Area (SRA) fee on May 23 at the Shasta County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 1450 Court Street, from 1-4 p.m.  As it currently stands, fee bills of $150.00 per per habitable structure are set to be sent to property owners on August 7. Property owners within the SRA and also within the boundaries of a local agency that provides fire protection services shall receive a reduction $35.00 per habitable structure. Written comments on the permanent regulations can be submitted anytime to the Board of Forestry at board.public.comments@fire.ca.gov or  Mr. George Gentry, Executive Officer , Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, P.O. Box 944246, Sacramento, CA 94244-2460

Ridin’ Point

By Marcia H. Armstrong, Siskiyou County Supervisor – District 5

http://users.sisqtel.net/armstrng/

“Klamath Whistleblower” Part 2 of 2:

Recently, Paul Houser, Ph.D. met with the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors (BoS) to discuss the science of Klamath dam removal. Houser was the Bureau of Reclamation’s (BoR) Science Advisor and his duties included advice on peer review and scientific integrity.

According to Dr. Houser, politics has no place in science and if you are trusting science from the BoR, it comes with a political agenda. The expert panel reports were rather good in expressing the uncertainty and the risk of the impacts of dam removal. It was decision-makers higher up that were trying to change the science to match their political agenda. Houser also expressed some concern about the peer reviewers selected to review the science. In one case, a dam removal engineer was selected as a reviewer – bringing a possible predetermined bias and conflict of interest.

Supervisor Grace Bennett expressed concern that removal of the dams would eliminate their function as “settling ponds” in cleaning the river. Houser indicated that the water quality in the Upper Basin was impaired by phosphorus from volcanic soils. Studies have shown how the dams have cleaned up water quality. Without them, the poor water quality at Keno will be the water quality for the entire river. He also indicated that in the Upside down nature of the Klamath River, the Trinity River’s contribution to cold, clean water is extremely important. It appears to be treated as a separate river, instead of a vital part of the Klamath River system.

Houser had concerns for the toxicity of the sediment behind the dams. He said that it contained chemicals that had been used in the past that don’t break down easily. Once the dams are removed, a layer of from one to six feet of sediment would be deposited on the streambed downstream of the dams. The dam removal EIS/EIS (Environmental Impact Statement/Report) assumes that most of the sediment will stay in place. As has been shown with old mill dams in the Shenandoah, erosion over the years can caused a legacy of water quality problems into the future.

Surprisingly, there has been very little push back from his allegations from supporters of dam removal. When he was challenged to a debate by an environmentalist, he answered that he was going to argue in favor or scientific integrity and asked if the challenger was going to argue in favor of scientific misconduct.

In the delta smelt lawsuit, each side had its own scientists. The irrigator’s scientists tried to convince the judge that the fish’s needs allowed for flows to farmers. The agency’s scientists tried to convince the judge that every drop of water was needed for the fish. It was obvious what the biases were and the judge had to decide between them. He blasted the federal scientists. He told them that they were being paid by the tax payer and were obligated to look at all sides, good or bad, and provide unbiased and balanced information upon which to base a decision.

In the case of the Klamath, Houser indicated that the local scientists he had spoken with are disgusted with what has happened with science on the Klamath. Houser would like to do an independent peer review and take a look at what we do know and what we still need to know.

Supervisor Bennett indicated that the local fish passage idea had been turned down out of hand by the CA Dept of Fish and Game and BoR. Houser stated that the fish passage idea looked like a good creative idea if it would deliver fish to suitable habitat. Engineering makes sense in other areas with high tech elevators, etc., why not on the Klamath?

Natural Resource Specialist Ric Costales asked whether or not working in a hotbed of political pressures was just par for the course for scientists. Houser indicated that the Klamath was particularly egregious because the Secretary had made the decision to remove the dams years before in 2009 and had implemented a process masquerading as a scientific process to justify it.

County Counsel Tom Guarino stated that the BoS had long been concerned about the quality of Klamath science and had insisted that reference to the President’s March 9, 2009, Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on “scientific integrity” be included in the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement. Dr. Houser indicated that, as BoR advisor for scientific integrity, he was required to follow these Presidential orders.

In regard to his formal complaint to the Inspector General for Whistleblower Protection on the scientific bias and lack of integrity, Houser stated that he had also included Siskiyou County’s concerns raised in its comments on the dam removal EIS/EIR.

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http://assets.mediaspanonline.com/prod/8032486/TH-klamath-whistleblower-1_w500.jpg

Tim Hearden/Capital Press

Former U.S. Bureau of Reclamation senior science advisor Paul Houser stands outside a meeting hall at the Siskiyou Golden Fairgrounds in Yreka, Calif., Houser, who claims he was fired by the agency for voicing concerns about the Klamath River dam removal process, spoke to about 200 people May 7.

By TIM HEARDEN

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Capital Press

YREKA, Calif. — The former U.S. Bureau of Reclamation senior science adviser who claims he was fired in February for speaking out about the Klamath River dam removal process said removing the dams should be an “extreme” last resort.

Paul Houser told about 200 people here May 7 that removing the four dams from the river is “an uncontrolled experiment” with impacts such as poor water quality that could have dire consequences for fisheries.

He said much further study is needed of alternatives such as fish passage, adding that scientists should truck in fish above the dams to see if they can find suitable habitat.

“We don’t know what would happen if we did nothing, so for me, taking the dams out is the most extreme option,” said Houser, 41, a George Mason University professor and former National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist who was hired last year to oversee the Klamath scientific studies.

“For me as a scientist, I’d like to know more about those less extreme options,” he said.

Houser filed federal whistleblower and scientific-integrity complaints after he says superiors told him his “skills weren’t a match for the position” and terminated him, he said in an interview.

He alleges officials wrote a summary and news release to elicit support for dam removal while downplaying negative remarks from scientists that were in the full reports. He said superiors told him to be quiet about his concerns, then he faced increasing scrutiny on his job.

Interior spokeswoman Kate Kelly said Houser’s complaints are still being reviewed. The Department of the Interior “has established a rigorous and transparent scientific process that is ongoing and will inform the decision about potential removal of the four Klamath River dams,” she said in an email May 8.

Work has been proceeding on a final environmental document that will choose a “preferred alternative” among five options, which range from doing nothing to fully dismantling the four dams in Southern Oregon and Northern California.

Other alternatives being considered include partial removal of the dams while keeping some structures behind, removing only two of the four dams, and installing fish passages around the dams, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Matthew Baun has said.

Houser said in his speech that it appears top Interior officials have already decided they want the dams out and are seeking the science to back up their decision.

“Scientists often do their work based on who they’re paid by,” he said, adding that they stop short of examining all available options. “That happens all the time in science … and you don’t get the unbiased science you need.”

Houser’s speech came during a three-day swing through the region, where he also was slated to address the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors on May 8 and a tea party meeting later in the evening.

In speaking out, Houser has become a darling of dam-removal opponents and tea party activists, many of whom attended his speech. His appearance was sponsored by the Bi-State Alliance, a recently formed group fighting for water rights issues.

Hearing Houser’s story provides “an assurance that there are honest people in this world and honest people in government,” said Leo Bergeron of Montague, Calif., one of the organizers. “We’ve been dealing with liars and thieves.”

Houser acknowledged in the interview he is concerned that his message may be co-opted by people with political agendas, but he was willing to speak to anyone who would listen. He said he did not initially intend to go public but that others, including Siskiyou County officials, forwarded his complaint letter to the media.

“I wanted to make sure that by moving forward on this that I wasn’t doing it as a benefit to me,” he told the audience. “A lot of scientists in government are doing good work and are afraid to come forward with these kinds of reports because the same thing would happen with them that did with me.”

Online

Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement studies and EIS/EIR: http://klamathrestoration.gov

Read it:

http://www.capitalpress.com/newsletter/TH-klamath-whistleblower-w-photos-infobox-050712

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Whistleblower’ will speak about Klamath dam removals; scientist’s advice opposed their removal

PNP comment: As a preface to this article, Dr. Paul R. Houser’s whistleblower complaint is moving forward. It has been deemed to “have merit.” And he really didn’t oppose the removal of the dams, he questioned the flaws in the science being used to promote the destruction of the dams. — Editor Liz Bowen

  • By Alayna Shulman

  • Posted May 4, 2012 at 11:44 p.m.

  • Redding Record Searchlight

A federal agency’s former scientific integrity adviser who filed a whistle-blower complaint in February, saying he was fired for his findings on a controversial proposal to remove dams in Siskiyou County, will speak at a meeting Monday in Yreka.

Paul R. Houser will address his complaint at the meeting of the Cal-Ore Bi-State Alliance at 6:30 p.m. in the Flower Building of the Siskiyou County fairgrounds, 1712 Fairlane Road.

Houser filed the complaint with the Department of the Interior in late February.

This week, Houser, who lives in Maryland and teaches at George Mason University in Virginia, said the chance of his case succeeding seems slim, but he’s not giving up hope that his complaint will be acknowledged.

“The success rate of cases like mine is very low,” he said. “The laws are pretty stacked against employees, and even though … I took all this training about the No FEAR Act and whistle-blower protection … when it comes down to it, I’m finding that the protection is much weaker than they claim.”

Kate Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Department of the Interior, said in an email to the Record Searchlight that Houser’s complaint is still being reviewed.

Houser said attorneys he has met with have estimated it would cost at least $50,000 to pursue a legal case if his complaint is denied, and he’s hoping for pro bono legal representation if that’s what happens.

He was hired by the Bureau of Reclamation in April 2011 to check the integrity of studies on the Klamath dam removal.

Much more to read:

http://www.redding.com/news/2012/may/04/whistleblower-will-speak-about-klamath-dam/

(Edit)    Tags

Paul R. Houser, Ph.D. presented his story and facts of why he filed an official “whistleblower” complaint against the federal government at the meeting in Klamath Falls last night, May 6. We had about 170 people there.

Oregon Senator Doug Whitsett introduced Dr. Houser and Klamath Tea Party chairman, Jack Charltin, hosted the meeting.

Tonight, Monday, May 7th

next meeting with Dr. Paul R. Houser

Siskiyou Golden Fairgrounds

in Yreka at I-5 Exit 773

Time: 6:30 p.m.

MC – Siskiyou Co. Sheriff Jon Lopey

Come and hear what Dr. Houser has to say. It is well worth it.

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