Monday, May 09, 2005

Did Greenwich & DEP Exaggerate Health Risk to Justify Killing Geese?

The Greenwich officials who want to kill Canada geese in town admit now that even though they said that the geese are a health threat, there really is no evidence to back that up. However, they blame the Connecticut DEP for requiring them to make such a claim in their application for permission to eliminate the geese.

The town's application, which it quietly submitted earlier in the year, says, "The increase in coliform counts and the risk of infection due to droppings is a serious health concern for the Greenwich Department of Health."

But apparently there are no studies anywhere to back up that assertion, according to the Greenwich Time. What does the town have to say about that? The Greenwich Time reports now:

Caroline Calderone Baisley, the town's health director, said claims about a threat to public health are not central to the plan. "If it was a health issue, quite frankly, I would have moved on this quite some time ago and ordered their removal, and I wouldn't need a consensus to do that," Calderone Baisley said.

Rather, claims about a health threat are in the application because the state environmental officials reviewing it wanted them there. To meet state requirements for permission to kill Canada geese - as outlined by state waterfowl biologist Min Huang - a case must be made that public health and safety issues are at stake, Calderone Baisley said.

So the town's health director made a claim in an official document that geese constituted a health threat even through there was no data to support that claim. And a state official told the health director to do it.

Assuming the Greenwich Time has this right, aren't there professional standards in the Town of Greenwich and the Connecticut DEP that should prevent public officials from making claims that are at least exaggerated on official documents? Or claims that as professionals they should have known there was no evidence for? And are there disciplinary actions that should be taken as a result?

The Greenwich Time didn't cover this angle. Here's hoping they don't let it drop.

Here's an earlier post on the issue, and a follow-up.


Anonymous sherlock said...

Great blog. Very interesting indeed

11:27 AM  

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