federal scientists


The EPA Can’t Stop Polluters When the Trump Administration Cuts Enforcement Staff

, director, Center for Science & Democracy

The primary task of the US Environmental Protection Agency is to protect public health and the environment. To do so, the agency must ensure that everyone, whether in the private sector or in government, complies with our nation’s laws and regulations. These safeguards are in place to protect health and safety for everyone anywhere in the country. Their enforcement safeguards are also a matter of fairness—all entities that might adversely impact our health and environment are supposed to follow the rules. So, it is particularly disturbing that the EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) has taken a major hit in staffing over the past 19 months in the Trump Administration. Read more >

Photo: EPA
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Is Scientific Integrity Safe at the USDA?

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Science is critical to everything the US Department of Agriculture does—helping farmers produce a safe, abundant food supply, protecting our soil and water for the future, and advising all of us about good nutrition to stay healthy. I recently wrote about the Trump administration’s new USDA chief scientist nominee, Scott Hutchins, and the conflicts he would bring from a career narrowly focused on developing pesticides for Dow.

But meanwhile, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue last week abruptly announced a proposed reorganization of the USDA’s research agencies. This move has implications for whoever takes up the post of chief scientist—as do new survey findings released yesterday, which suggest that the Trump administration is already having detrimental effects on science and scientists at the USDA. Read more >

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The Results of Our 2018 Federal Scientists Survey

, research scientist, Center for Science and Democracy

In February and March of this year, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) conducted a survey of federal scientists to ask about the state of science over the past year, and the results are in. Scientists and their work are being hampered by political interference, workforce reductions, censorship, and other issues, but the federal scientific workforce is resilient and continuing to stand up for the use of science in policy decisions. Read more >

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Federal Scientists! Make a Note for the Record. We All Need to Know of Your Work.

, director, Center for Science & Democracy

To say that federal employees are working in a challenging environment is probably a gross understatement. I’ve heard reports of employees not being allowed to take notes in meetings or told not to use specific words in communications. The Union of Concerned Scientists has reported on scientific advice being sidelined by political staff across a broad range of decisions. As my colleague Joel Clement, formerly of the Department of Interior, said, most career professionals in the agencies just want to do their jobs. Read more >

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Giving Thanks to Climate Researchers of the Federal Agencies

John B. Drake, , UCS

Most of my science career I worked for the Department of Energy as a climate modeler and numerical expert at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Since my retirement in 2010 I have written a text on computational climate modeling and taught graduate level engineering classes on climate science at the University of Tennessee. I had the privilege of working with many talented and dedicated scientists and hate to see their work go unappreciated because climate has become such a politicized issue. Read more >

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