For Immediate Release
April 20, 1998

Contact: Vicki M. Boatwright

STATEMENT REGARDING GUILTY PLEA OF
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE EMPLOYEE

Mr. Arnold Waldemar Nidecker III, manager of Sabine National Wildlife Refuge in Hackberry, LA, has pled guilty in United States District Court to one count of making false statements to his employing Federal agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The felony to which he has admitted involved the falsifying of bid invitations and bid submissions for mitigation contracts to correct damage from oil and gas operations on refuge lands. The U.S. Attorney handling the case stated in court that while the company that received the mitigation contract did so without competitively bidding for it, the contract was properly performed for a reasonable price, and the oil company that paid for the work was not defrauded.

The Service is currently conducting its own thorough review of this matter to determine what administrative action will be taken in this case. We do not anticipate announcing that action prior to Mr. Nidecker’s sentencing, which is scheduled for July 1998.

In the meantime, Mr. Nidecker has been detailed out of his current management position to a staff position at Lafayette Field Office, in Lafayette, LA for an indefinite period. Operations at Sabine National Wildlife Refuge will continue under the leadership of Mr. Terence Delaine, currently the Assistant Manager at Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge in Bell City, LA. Mr. Delaine will assume the role of acting refuge manager at Sabine beginning today.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages more than 94 million acres of land and water consisting of 512 national wildlife refuges, 65 national fish hatcheries, 38 wetland management districts with waterfowl production areas, and 50 wildlife coordination areas.

The agency also enforces Federal wildlife laws, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat, such as wetlands, administers the Endangered Species Act, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts.

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Release #: R98-028


1998 News Releases

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