The chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee says he is prepared to issue a subpoena for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service documents on listing the White Bluffs bladderpod as a threatened species.
Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., sent a letter to the agency March 7 seeking specific documents and information by March 21. Due to a lack of response to his request, Hastings said in a press release that he is prepared to issue a subpoena for the information if the department does not comply by April 2.
“Committee staff confirmed that the letter was received, but the deadline has passed and we have not yet received any response and none of the information,” Hastings stated.
The agency announced the final listing of the bladderpod, a native plant species along the Columbia River, as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act in 2013. Franklin County, Wash., farmers paid for DNA testing and questioned whether the plant qualified as a different, endangered species but agency managers said the findings were insufficient to warrant a change.
Hastings said the information he is seeking relates to a closed rule making process and is about the science used.
“We’re not seeking state secrets here,” he said. “The department as a whole does not seem to be taking the committee’s voluntary requests very seriously.”
Hastings made the comments during a committee oversight hearing, according to the release.