Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit , environmental protection organization of local, state, and national government natural resource and environmental professionals. PEER as a resource to potential government whistleblowers , allowing them to anonymously expose environmental wrongdoings and assisting them in redressing agency retaliation.

Founded in 1996, PEER operates by public inquiry about environmental misconduct. Because whistleblowers often face direct retaliation from the offending agencies, PEER encourages employees to act through the organization to reveal environmental environmental misdeeds. Once a claim is made, PEER investigates it, often using Freedom of Information Act requests. The organization then may choose to take a number of actions, including press releases or lawsuits. PEER also provides legal services to whistleblowers who find themselves the target of agency retaliation. [1] As of January 2011, PEER is formally affiliated with Climate Science Legal Defense Fund .

Objectives of PEER

  • Organize a broad base of support among employees within local, state and federal resources management agencies.
  • Monitor natural resource management by serving as a “watch dog” for the public interest.
  • Inform the administration, Congress, state officials, media and the public about PEER members.
  • Defend and strengthen the legal rights of public employees who speak out about natural resource management and environmental protection. Provide free legal assistance if and when necessary. [3]


PEER maintains campaigns in leading environmental issues. Some of their work includes

EPA library closings

In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency began to dismantle its network of technical libraries, an important resource for research, without Congressional approval. Upon learning of these closings, PEER brought them to the attention of Congress. Despite Congress’ recent order to reopen the libraries, the EPA continues to limit and remove library resources. [4]

Arctic drilling debate

PEER has released e-mails and documents from current and former Interior Scientists challenging the integrity of the environmental assessments of Arctic offshore oil development. These emails have been used to fuel lawsuits currently threatening to impede new lease sales. [5]

Off-road recreation damage

Off-road vehicle recreation, an activity growing in popularity, can devastate local wildlife growth and disrupt the environment. PEER and Rangers for Responsible Recreation. [6]

Genetically engineered crops

In 2011 PEER participated in a lawsuit against the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for entering into agreements that had allowed Genetically Engineered (GE) crops to be planted on 54 US national wildlife refuges. Co-complaints in the following were the Center for Food Safety and Beyond Pesticides. [7] The group also filed a lawsuit in 2012 against the White House under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the White House had received from Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) Such as Monsanto . The Obama Administration had re-released the email, claiming that doing so would reveal BIO’s lobbying strategies.

Teresa Chambers

Former Chief of the United States Police , Teresa Chambers served for nearly 2 years before she was fired after revealing in an interview the potential dangers of their low staffing levels. PEER has been granted statutory defense and publicity for her appeal for reinstatement and for her wrongful firing lawsuit. [9]

PEER also maintains many campaigns in the following categories

  • Wildlife Protection
  • Public Lands
  • Land Use & Development
  • Public Health
  • Whistleblower Protection

Faith-based parks

PEER has worked to keep religious promotions out of public parks.

Grand Canyon National Park

The National Park Service in 2003 approved for sale in the Grand Canyon National Park bookstore Grand Canyon: A Different View : a book as it’s present the formation of the Grand Canyon as a result of Biblical events. [10] PEER exposed the sale of this book as a prefecture of a religion to the line of constitutional legality. [11] On January 4, 2007 the National Park Service Chief of Public Affairs, David Barna released a response stating that the National Park Service neither used the text in their teaching nor did they endorse its content. The Native American culture is the only one of its kind. [12] As PEER contests, the inspirational section was only created after PEER had exposed the book as a natural history. The controversial book remains on sale.

The Geological Survey of Canada “,” Geologic Interpretive Programs: Distinguishing Science from Religion “. [13]

Mojave National Preserve

PEER board member, Frank Buono, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California , filed a lawsuit to remove an 8-foot-tall (2.4 m) white cross displayed in the Mojave National Preserve . [14] The cross, which was originally erected in 1934 as a war memorial has since undergone many changes in appearance, including the loss of its plaque. It now stands as an 8-foot-tall (2.4 m) white cross serving as the site for Easter sunrise services. [15] Most recently, the order to remove the cross has-been Upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit , [16] DESPITE oven Appeals by the US Justice Department . The cross-awaits removal, unless there is a fifth appeal by the Justice Department that could potentially bring the case to the Supreme Court . [17]


  1. Jump up^ Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. [1]Accessed June 6, 2009.
  2. Jump up^ New York Times, 25, Jan. 2011, “A Legal Defense Fund for Climate Scientists,”
  3. Jump up^ Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. [2]Accessed June 6, 2009.
  4. Jump up^ “PEER Campaigns – EPA Library Closure – News” . Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. Archived from the original on 2008-06-07 . Retrieved 2008-07-16 .
  5. Jump up^ “PEER Campaigns – Arctic Drilling – News” . Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility . Retrieved 2008-07-16 .
  6. Jump up^ “PEER Campaigns – Off-Road Wreckreation – News” . Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility . Retrieved 2008-07-16 .
  7. Jump up^ “Lawsuit To Halt GE Crops In All Midwest Refuges” . Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility . Retrieved 2011-11-02 .
  8. Jump up^ “Civil Action No. 11-1583-RJ” (PDF) . US District Court for the District of Columbia . Retrieved 2012-02-17 .
  9. Jump up^ “PEER Campaigns – In the Chief’s Corner – News” . Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility . Retrieved 2008-07-16 .
  10. Jump up^ “Canyon Ministries – Grand Canyon: A Different View” . Canyon Ministries . Retrieved 2008-07-16 .
  11. Jump up^ “PEER – News – Religion on Display In National Parks” . Public Employees for Environmental Resoponsibility . Retrieved 2008-07-16 .
  12. Jump up^ David Barna Chief of Public Affairs National Park Service. “National Park Service Response Concerning the Grand Canyon”(PDF) . Retrieved 2008-07-16 .
  13. Jump up^ “PEER – News – Evolving Grand Canyon Position Leaves Unanswered Questions” . Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility . Retrieved 2008-07-16 .
  14. Jump up^ “PEER – News – Fierce Battle to Keep Cross in National Park” . Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility . Retrieved 2008-07-16 .
  15. Jump up^ Edds, Kimberly (2004-06-09). “ – Cross in Mojave Desert Preserve Barred” . Washington Post . Retrieved 2009-06-06 .
  16. Jump up^ “Ninth Circuit ruling in Buono v. Kempthorne” (PDF) . Retrieved 2009-06-06 .
  17. Jump up^ “PEER – News – Last Stand for Mojave Cross?” . Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility . Retrieved 2008-07-16 .

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