Stoel Rives environmental law attorneys Ryan Steen and Sara Leverette consider in a white paper the issue of scientific uncertainty in the implementation of federal wildlife statutes. Published by the American Bar Association's Natural Resources & Environment Journal, the paper explores circumstances where federal implementing agencies are confronted by a lack of scientific data or an incomplete understanding of complex phenomena.
Steen and Leverette draw upon case studies involving Arctic ice seals and Hawaiian pelagic false killer whales to highlight tensions that arise when federal decisions are made at the fringes of scientific understanding. They conclude that the federally dictated management structures of statutes like the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act may result in regulatory decisions that cannot be reconciled with the best available science.
Read the White Paper at the Journal's Website
"Oceans and Ice: Scientific Uncertainty in the Regulation of Protected Species" was published by Natural Resources & Environment Journal, American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, Summer 2013, Vol. 28, No. 1.