What we do every day at PEER:
- Combat political manipulation of science. Public agency scientists are under tremendous pressure not to report results that argue for resource protection, and when they do that work it is often suppressed or re-written. PEER is working to strengthen and enforce scientific integrity rules and data quality laws to protect the accuracy and completeness of technical documents. Follow our progress.
- Enforce the law. PEER works with rangers, inspectors, attorneys and other specialists to make sure that our environmental laws are actually enforced and that political obstructions are removed. When necessary, we go to court ourselves to enforce the law. Learn more >>
- Defend whistleblowers. While we work mightily to avoid putting employees in the position of having to be whistleblowers, if that is not possible, we defend them ferociously. See how.
- Shield scientists from interference. PEER operates a unique program providing legal information, counseling and, when needed, formal representation to embattled scientists at no cost to them. This Alliance for Legal Protection of Science (ALPS) also fields a national network of volunteer attorneys from a variety of specialties to help PEER staff counsel provide pro bono legal assistance to besieged scientists.
- Help eco-cops do their jobs. From local, state and federal environmental law enforcement agencies across the country, PEER teams with embattled rangers, law enforcement officers, attorneys and inspectors to better pursue violations of anti-pollution and wildlife protection laws. Look at one example.
- Safeguard public lands. When public agencies cannot effectively address threats to our public lands, PEER steps in. Look at our work curbing off-road vehicle abuse and the widespread degradation of federal range land from persistent overgrazing.
- Protect public health. PEER is waging national campaigns to protect the water we drink, air we breathe and food we eat. See how our work extends from factories to the schoolhouse door.
- End giveaways of your public resources. Disclosures through PEER have stopped massive rip-offs of public resources and even reformed the land exchange process.
- Throw a Lifeline to every environmental employee. PEER wants to reach out to cubicles, field stations and laboratories across the country. Every employee who faces political pressures to ignore laws or put development above conservation should know how to call PEER.
What Else Would You Like to Know About PEER? Look around this site and find out!
What We Are Proud Of
Many of the best things we do at PEER, we cannot talk about. Working behind the scenes, we have saved the careers of hundreds of conscientious public servants, often by talking them out of publicly blowing the whistle and convincing them to work through PEER instead to expose a problem.
Looking at just the past year, here are ten examples we can talk about where PEER has made significant progress in safeguarding public health, protecting wildlife, conserving public resources or securing freedom of speech —
- Induced the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to announce that it would end all planting of genetically engineered (GE) crops and ban neonicotinoids (powerful insecticides linked with bee colony collapse) from all National Wildlife Refuges in the U.S. This culminates a decade-long multi-state litigation effort to end harmful practices on refuges;
- Won new reforms to protect independent monitors of U.S. commercial fishing fleets from interference and reprisal in reporting violation of catch-limits, by-catch of protected species, shark-finning prohibitions and marine pollution;
- Vindicated whistleblowers who documented scientific fraud within the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and pressed to secure the removal of responsible managers;
- Represented sick teachers from Malibu public schools in exposing toxic conditions in classrooms and pursuing campus-wide cleanup;
- Made EPA retract its safety assurances for artificial turf made from shredded tires. This is part of a larger effort to end reuse of toxic industrial wastes in consumer products;
- Ripped open a ticket scam at the USS Arizona Memorial in which thousands of free tickets were skimmed by commercial tour companies forcing visitors to sign up for expensive tour packages;
- Debuted a powerful new tool for government oversight in the form of a grazing website featuring an interactive map combining range health data received from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management with high resolution satellite imagery to enable comparison of BLM’s data with ground conditions that are visible even to the untrained eye. The website represents the most complete and up-to-date look at the results of BLM’s land health status evaluations of roughly 20,000 BLM grazing allotments – an asset we are already putting to work across the West;
- Brought together a coalition of Alaska and national marine conservation organizations to formally nominate the Aleutian Islands marine ecosystem as Alaska’s first National Marine Sanctuary. The Aleutians are one of the planet’s most ecologically important ecosystems, yet faces growing threats from overfishing, oil and gas development and increasing shipping with scant protection – all aggravated by the spreading effects of climate change. Although more than half of Alaska’s lands have permanent federal protection, virtually none of Alaska’s federal waters receive comparable protective status;
- Bared the biggest official mass desecrations of Indian pre-historic burial sites at Effigy Mounds National Monument, including 80 illegal structures atop the ancient artifacts this national park was founded to protect. On a related front, PEER forced an investigation of systemic breakdown in the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act following misplacement of thousands of human remains and funerary objects; and
- Won a critical legal victory in a drive to end open-riding of off-road vehicles without any controls throughout California’s largest off-road park, Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area, in order to protect its rich but vulnerable archaeological and natural resources;
One invaluable tool has been our robust use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation program. Guided by insider sources, PEER operates a wide-ranging transparency program powered by one of the most robust FOIA litigation practices in the country.
There is a lot more going on at PEER. Check out our ongoing campaigns.