Federal scientists censored and forced to move

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Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt Photo credit: US Bureau of Reclamation

Rod Schoonover, a State Department intelligence veteran, recently resigned over censorship by the Trump Administration. He’s an example of the alarming loss of experts needed by policy makers in Washington.

Schoonover had told Congress in open session that climate change is a threat to national security, but the White House refused to release his remarks to the public. It appears that censorship caused him to quit his job.

He’s not the only one, according to Washington Post reporter Juliet Eiperin. She says “The real exodus of scientists and researchers has already begun.” And their absence could be important. For example, Schoonover served in “that part of the intelligence community that challenged the idea that Saddam Hussen had access to weapons of mass destruction.”

Elperin also reports that experts with the Bureau of Land Management are being moved out of Washington and scattered around the country. That’s great for high-level employment in Colorado, Montana and Alaska, but it’s also part of a major policy change: “What we’ve certainly seen is a shift by this agency which used to devote more of its resources to renewable energy to instead focus more on coal leasing and oil and gas drilling.”

The Agriculture Department is also moving hundreds of jobs from Washington to Kansas City. They include researchers who assess how climate change affects food production, the extent agricultural practices can sequester carbon. “In other words” Eilperin says, “You could have some of the solution to climate change… realized through the way we farm.”




Warren Olney


Andrea Brody